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Zukiswa Wanner. Photo from author’s Facebook page.

For the 2018 World Read Aloud Day, the literacy advocate group Nal’ibali commissioned the South African novelist Zukiswa Wanner to write a story, “The Final Minute,” which has now been translated into South Africa’s official 11 languages for the February 1 event, to be read aloud to children. The languages are: Afrikaans, Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, English, Ndebele, Northern  Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

The decision came after a Progress in International Literacy Study (PIRLS) report revealed that “78 percent of South African fourth graders cannot read for meaning in any language,” and this, writes Wanner, “despite education being one of the ministries that consistently gets a bigger chunk of the national budget annually.”

“The Final Minute” is about “a football-loving future Bafana Bafana player and his best friend who hope to lead South Africa to winning the World Cup championship.” The story, it is hoped, will inculcate reading for enjoyment in a million South African children.

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OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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