PRAESA director Dr Carole Bloch has a background in teaching pre-school children and older children with literacy learning difficulties. Since 1992, when she joined PRAESA, she has worked to transform the way children learn to read and write by putting stories, meaning making and enjoyment at the centre of formal and non-formal learning. She set up an Early Literacy Unit in PRAESA and co-ordinated its work for many years. This included research into young children’s literacy and biliteracy learning in multilingual African settings, facilitating training for teachers and teacher trainers and the publication of several storybooks for children of all ages in many African languages. In 2004 Carole initiated and ran the AU’s African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) core project, Stories Across Africa, a pan-African initiative to create common collections of stories for all African children to read in their mother tongues. She has served as an early literacy consultant in several African countries and has a PhD (cum laude) in early literacy in African settings from the Carl Ozietsky University in Germany. She is founder and a trustee of The Little Hands Trust, which promotes and supports the development and use of children’s literature in South Africa. Carole co-founded and led the first four years of the Nal’ibali national Reading-for-Enjoyment Campaign and continues to give literacy direction to the campaign. She is a trustee of The Nal’ibali Trust, serves on the SA PEN committee and has been elected a member of the IBBY International Executive Committee for 2016-2018.
Arabella Koopman is a Multilingual Materials Development Specialist at PRAESA. She co-founded and provides content to the Nal’ibali campaign. Arabella is responsible for conceptualising, developing and managing the reading and literacy-support materials of the campaign, including the bilingual Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment newspaper supplement. She is also a freelance writer and publisher with more than 20 years writing and commissioning experience in the publishing industry. She holds particular expertise in textbook development, children’s literature, and the development and suitability assessment of books for multilingual settings. Arabella has a special interest in developing and researching materials that support and extend children’s literacy. She is a trustee of The Little Hands Trust, which promotes and supports the development and use of children’s literature in South Africa.
Pumeza Ngobozana is PRAESA’s African Language Editorial Support Coordinator. She has managed various educational projects, including children’s books and school text books in African languages. Before working as a content development specialist, focused on Nguni languages, at Via Afrika Publishers, Pumeza was an African languages publisher for Macmillan Education South Africa. After qualifying as a journalist, her passion for books and languages led her into the publishing industry.
Ilse von Zeuner is the English and Afrikaans Translation and Editorial Manager at PRAESA. She is responsible for editing the English and Afrikaans versions of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment newspaper supplement and other materials for the Nal’ibali campaign. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than 20 years.
Nkululeko Ndiki works for PRAESA as African languages translations and editorial manager for Nal’ibali content. He is responsible for commissioning and project managing translations of reading materials for the campaign’s various platforms. Nkululeko has worked as an editor and a publisher for a handful of South African publishing houses.
Nadia Lubowski is an early childhood specialist with a Master’s degree from the University of Cape Town. Nadia developed and co-ordinated Nal’ibali’s Storyplay curriculum, arising from PRAESA’s story and meaning-based early biliteracy approach, as well as her interest in philosophical play pedagogies. She co-ordinates the Ububele story schools project, supported by Ackermans which is exploring a story and play-based early literacy approach with teachers and preschoolers in Belhar and Langa. She has worked as a primary and preschool teacher, trained educational staff, and run community workshops. Aiming to provide access and empowerment to children and parents limited by social, political and economic circumstances, Nadia, daughter of the late Anton Lubowski, has been involved in setting up creative and far-reaching primary community educational projects in the Western Cape since 2006.
Nolubabalo Anabel Mbotshwa is an early childhood language and literacy mentor. She has several years of experience working with children and young people in various capacities. She studied Educare/Pre-school teaching at Cape College of Cape Town in 2000 and in 2002 after which she spent some years in England as an au-pair and a healthcare assistant. After she obtained a Diploma in Counselling and Communication at the South African College of Applied Psychology in 2008, Nolubabalo did some counselling at the Salesian Institute’s Learn to Live programme, Wittebome High School and Cape Town High School. She then volunteered with Shine supporting children’s literacy and numeracy at St Agnes’ Primary School. Between 2011 and 2016, she worked as a Grade 1 teacher’s assistant at Sea Point Primary School.
Sive Mbolekwa is a storyplay mentor for the Langa cluster at PRAESA. He is a literacy activist and storyteller who started working in the townships of Port Elizabeth with voluntary organisation Unako CBM, an initiative of students and alumni of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University who were activists in their communities. As part of Unako, he received Nal’ibali training in how to run reading clubs in 2012. In 2014, he went to work for Axium Education in Zithulele, a rural area in Mqanduli near Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast. In 2016, he worked with his mentor Xolisa Guzula in her Stars of Tomorrow Literacy Club in Khayelitsha. Here he was trained in critical literacy strategies before returning to Axium Education to curate a Literacy Festival for the Zithulele area. Sive has worked and trained young people and teachers in early literacy strategies for reading clubs through storytelling. His career in early literacy was sparked by his experience in a township book club for adults that was run by Loyiso Rawana, a poet from Port Elizabeth. He wanted to share this culture of thinking critically about our social conditions with children. Hence, he worked closely with activists in Port Elizabeth (with Unako CBM) to spark conversations about our everyday experiences, using strategies from the theatre of the oppressed approach and working with the Unako Arts Wing group.
Ingrid Brink works for PRAESA on print and electronic materials for the Nal’ibali campaign. She has worked in the publishing industry for more 30 years and has experience in all facets of publishing educational materials.