The Puku Children’s Literature Foundation celebrated International Literacy Day on Wednesday 8 September by winning the prestigious UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for 2021.
Puku, which has regularly held successful festivals in Makhanda, won for its work on “Using digital technologies to promote children’s literature in South Africa’s indigenous languages”.
Puku aims to ensure that all children have access to quality, culturally relevant literature in the languages they understand. Puku does this by working to create systemic change in the reading and book development ecosystem through digital platforms that provide a structured and organised system for selecting, reviewing and sharing accurate data on children’s books in all South African languages.
Puku also hosts community events celebrating books and reading, advocates for the book publishing ecosystem, and conducts writing and reviewing workshops for storytellers, writers, teachers, librarians, language practitioners, cultural and literary activists and academics in indigenous language communities.
Nomvuyo Mzamane, Puku’s Education & Multimedia Edutainment Specialist noted: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for South African children and youth to become independent readers and have access to reading resources in the languages they most need. As the pandemic has forced a shift to distance learning, the task of producing enduring and memorable content in all South African languages through digital platforms
becomes more urgent.”
Puku designed and produced what is the world’s first video tutorial on the subject of reviewing children’s literature that affirms the African child in an African language, with the pilot being in isiXhosa.
The nine Puku webinars, all available in their entirety on YouTube’s Puku Channel, are the first-ever webinar series in indigenous languages within and between linguistic communities.
Looking beyond the Literacy Prize, Puku aims to mobilize the resources needed to have a complete digital refresh and upscale their website into Pukupedia, an online encyclopedia for children’s books in all Southern African languages.
You can contact Puku’s isiXhosa editor Cebo Solombela at email@example.com or on 067 895 1302.