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Thursday, June 2, 2011


M-Net initiative turns 1,000 youngsters into readers

Some one thousand youngsters, for whom letters on paper were nothing but meaningless marks, have discovered the pleasure of reading as part of a fun-filled and creative literacy project. These children, grade three learners from identified schools across the country, all became ‘graduates’ during the M-Net 2011 Naledi initiative this week.

M-Net Naledi launched in 2010 as an offspring of one of the broadcaster’s long-running corporate initiatives, the M-Net Literary Awards. “The M-Net Literary Awards is the only competition of its kind, honouring storytellers in all South African languages,” explains M-Net’s Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Koo Govender. “The desire to ensure that the South African story remains alive and also flourish in future made us realise how important it is to inspire a culture of reading from a very young age. Not to mention all its other educational and life-skill benefits.”

It’s M-Net’s mission to expand the Naledi initiative each year. In its first year, 300 Grade three learners from less-privileged schools in Gauteng benefited from this five-week reading programme. This year it increased to 1,000 learners in four provinces. KZN, The Western Cape and Free State were added to the list. Instead of only conducting the workshops in English, mother tongues such as isiZulu, Sotho and Xhosa were also included.

“It’s heartwarming to see how much these magical reading workshops, which are based on the curriculum but in a practical, fun-filled way, mean to the kids, and we trust that we will be able to incorporate more schools, more provinces, more languages and more kids next time round,” says M-Net’s CSI manager, Palesa Xorile.

Graduation ceremonies, where the learners celebrated their new-found skills, were held at the following schools this year: Liwa Primary and Nal'Uxolo Primary in Cape Town; Lehae Primary and Qoqisizwe Primary in Gauteng; Mmulakgoro Primary and Setjhaba se Maketse Primary in the Free State; Imbewenhle Primary and Khayalemfundo Primary in KZN. The MEC of Education in KZN attended the event in the Ilembe District.

M-Net Cares, the broadcaster’s famous Corporate Social Investment umbrella brand, also donated funds towards these literacy workshops, as well as reading material. Each of the 1,000 new readers who graduated also received a book and certificate to acknowledge their participation in the programme. The initiative is in partnership with the Readers Society of South Africa as project coordinators and Project Literacy as workshop facilitators, and is endorsed by the Department of Education.

More information from Michelle Esau on 011 686 6360 or email: or Lani Lombard on 011 686 6074 or email: