Cape Town – This Heritage Month, a fast food restaurant and Ethnikids have taken the opportunity to shed light on the literacy crisis facing the country, giving children free access to an African folk tale collection of books in their home languages.
The launch of the Wimpy and Ethnikids Stories in your Home Language campaign took place at Wimpy V&A Waterfront on Thursday afternoon, with parents and children in attendance for a fun and interactive reading session.
Ethnikids, an online bookstore, was established by five mothers in 2016.
One of the Ethnikids founders, Tina Boateng Akuoko, said: “We could not find books in representative and inclusive material for our little ones so we set out to look for such material and had to bring it all into one online platform.
“This is basically the launch of the five titles, original stories written by local talents, local authors and illustrators and are basically stories in your own language and relatable material to encourage a culture of reading, not just in your home language but also just around the table, family time or around a group meal.”
This comes as a welcome initiative at a time when it has been found that 78% of Grade 4 children in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language.
Educational psychologist Seago Maapola said: “We know that if children don’t read books that represent them, they start to see other types of people being better than them or more important and it impacts on their self-esteem. And if they don’t have a good self-esteem or a good self-concept, then they struggle to pursue their dreams.
“If they don't get to see themselves as engineers, as princesses, as heroes then they think other people are going to come and save us, as opposed to us being the people that need to save ourselves.”
A book will come free with every Wimpy Kiddies Combo meal and online, in any home language including Khoe/Nama.