Nal’ibali National Reading-for-Enjoyment Campaign

Beginning in 2012, the Nal’ibali Campaign – of which PRAESA is an initiating partner together with Times Media – contributing towards addressing the challenge of literacy development in South Africa by driving what needs to become a long-term national reading for enjoyment movement. Called Nal’ibali, which means ‘here is the story’ in isiXhosa, we will help create and begin to sustain conditions that get passionate readers sharing stories and reading with children. We regard this kind of intervention as crucial for tackling the literacy crisis in South Africa.

Twenty years of literacy work in multilingual settings has led us to understand that a love of stories is a universal characteristic of childhood, and indeed adulthood. The Nal’ibali Initiative aims to nurture the kinds of conditions that give rise to storytelling and reading. Communities will be encouraged and supported and inspired to re-embrace the power of stories in daily life.

For full details about the campaign, please visit


Photo by Shelly Christians/The Times

PRAESA is working with partners in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal to mentor and research the setting up and running of several community-based reading clubs run by volunteers. For more information about the reading clubs, contact us or visit the Nal’ibali Facebook page.

For more information on research, contact us.

As part of Nal’ibali’s formative research, read a series of briefings that focus on “Stories in People’s Lives” and involve snapshots from three different parts of South Africa: Research Briefing 1: “Stories in People’s Lives: A snapshot from Rawsonville, Western Cape” and Research Briefing 2: “Stories in People’s Lives: A snapshot from Langa, Western Cape”.


The PRAESA team is offering a series of mentoring workshops in the same provinces to help inspire and train organisations and individuals who join Nal’ibali’s efforts. For more information, contact us.

Materials development

PRAESA works in close relationship with The Little Hands Trust to keep on inspiring the development and distribution of storybooks for children in multilingual settings. A series of books for babies and children are being published for use in Nal’ibali.

See and The Little Hands Trust on facebook for more information.

Reading Clubs

Inspiration for the Nal’ibali Network of Reading Clubs: Vulindlela – Open the way!

When PRAESA was approached by the Zisukanyo Youth Empowerment Group in Langa to assist with a programme for young people in the community, a natural progression from research and development work on bilingual and biliteracy approaches in schools into the community was made.

Due to our language and literacy perspectives and experiences about the significance of Free Voluntary Reading (Stephen Krashen, 1993) for learning to read and write (See for more), the first community-based reading club supported by PRAESA came into being in 2006. Read our concept paper on reading clubs.

Vulindlela Langa continues to meet every Saturday morning from 10h00 to 12h00 and is run by volunteers who are there to inspire and be inspired by a group of children which sometimes reaches a hundred or more. Operating in both isiXhosa and English, the commitment of the volunteers at the club has turned it into a ‘demonstration’  club which has become a mentoring space for several other reading clubs in the Western Cape and further afield. Watch a video about the Vulindlela Reading Club.

The Vulindlela Reading Club provides us with the fountain of enthusiasm, inspiration and experience on which the national network of Nal’ibali  reading clubs are growing.