World Teacher’s Day: Nal’ibali activist spreads power of literacy

Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, celebrates World Teacher’s Day by acknowledging the powerful teacher’s across South Africa, who play a key role in shaping the future of South Africa. One of these powerful teachers is Frans Makgalo who is registered as a FUNda Leader.

The FUNda Leader programme is a campaign that celebrates the spirit of activism shared by thousands South Africans across the country and encourages everyday South Africans to volunteer their time to make storytelling and books part of children’s lives.

Frans Matome Makgalo (42) is one of these incredible teachers. He is based in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province in the village of Manguzi called Thengani, where he’s presently teaching grade 3 foundation phase English as a first additional language. He is also the founder of Thengani Career Development Dynamites, an organisation that helps local grade 10 -12 learners with career development and bursary applications. Through the work that he does with the community in Mbazwane, he was inspiration to become a FUNda Leader.

His mother who made sure he would read an English or Sepedi books to her before going to sleep every night, which is where he developed his love for reading and telling stories. “My favourite moments as a child, was when we visited my grandmother, who used to tell us stories and also made us tell those stories back to her before we left going back home” says Frans.

It’s through these connections that Frans’s love for reading and telling stories was nurtured: “Reading and books are important because they develop the mind, develops the imagination and keeps one abreast with what is happening around us. If it was not for reading, I would not be able to find myself where I am right now, imparting knowledge to the young ones”.

His message to other teachers and educators is to fully commit themselves to helping students enjoy reading and stories. He believes that this is the most powerful step to creating a culture of reading. It’s important for children to be told and read stories because story telling is an art that has mental, social and educational benefits for children. Story telling or reading introduces lot of new vocabulary and encourages children to participate actively in the learning process.

Nal’ibali has broadened his experience through connecting to the national network of literacy mentors, the Nal’ibali bilingual newspaper supplement, which helped him with tools to teach the grade 1’s and 2’s how to read.

Frans Matome Makgalo is a true literacy activist in his community, showing the power that teachers have in changing lives.  “Far too few children in South Africa have the opportunity to engage with books and stories in a way that is enjoyable and exciting,” said Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director. “In fact, only 5% of caregivers in the country read to their children. As a consequence, there is often a lack of motivation for children to engage in reading, which we know has very direct and very negative implications for future learning success. We would like to encourage all South Africans to get stuck into this very simple and deeply impactful way to help children reach their full potential. Every child deserves this opportunity, and it’s something simple that we all can help achieve.”

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign or access children’s stories in a range of SA languages visit and or find us on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA.

For media interviews please contact Lucky Sithole at 021 448 6000 / [email protected]