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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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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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