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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