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International Mother Tongue Day today, celebs back South African drive

Today, 21 February 2014, is International Mother Tongue Day and the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign will be highlighting the importance of reading and sharing stories with children in their mother tongue languages through its weekly literacy supplement and a special Twitter drive.
The campaign is calling on South Africans to share at least one, or all of their tweets, in their home languages today, as some of South Africa's best-loved celebs and thought leaders pledge to lead the way.

Legendary Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow (@JackParow); acclaimed jazz singer, Judith Sephuma (@judith_sephuma); activist, actress and glamorous literacy ambassador, Hlubi Mboya (@HlubiMboya) together with television personality, Akhumzi Jezile (@akhumzij); rapper Zeus (@zeusgc) and columnist Palesa Morudu (@palesamorudu) will all be sharing tweets in their home languages to help raise awareness about the role of mother tongue in children's literacy development.

Sharing the message

"By the time children are five, their brilliant young minds have helped them to learn how to think and communicate in their home language. Moreover, when you read to children in their home languages, you give them a strong foundation for learning language and developing their literacy skills," comments Carole Bloch, director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal'ibali campaign together with Times Media and other partners.

"With a combined reach of more than 250,000 followers, our celebrity role models play a vital role in helping us to get our message out there.

"In addition, the Mother Tongue Day edition of our weekly bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement - which appears in The Times, The Sowetan, The Dispatch and The Herald - will share information with parents, caregivers and volunteers on the value of mother tongue to help grow their children's literacy. The supplement - which features a new children's story in every edition and is also delivered free of charge to hundreds of reading clubs each week - is available in English-isiXhosa, English-isiZulu, English-Sesotho and English-Afrikaans allowing volunteers, caregivers and parents to have access to reading material on a regular basis in a variety of languages," she concludes.

Join Nal'ibali on Twitter (@nalibaliSA) on Friday 21 February and share one or all of your tweets in your mother tongue using the hashtag #InMyLanguage.

For more information, go to,, on Facebook: nalibaliSA.