The Bible Society of South Africa (BSSA) will launch two literacy booklets in Sepedi during a special event to be held at Mmaphotla Primary School in Mankweng, Polokwane, on 27 July 2017. Sepedi is the sixth South African language in which this material has been published. The launch will begin at 08:30.
The event will be attended by, inter alia, the Executive Mayor of Polokwane, Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng, Dr Polena Mangoale of the Pan South African Language Board and Mr MD Magagane, a senior manager of the Department of Education in Limpopo. Various foundation phase teachers, church and community leaders are all expected to attend the event.
The most important guests of the day are, however, the 300 Grade R, 1 and 2 learners of various primary schools in the area. Every one of these children will receive a set of these Sepedi literacy booklets.
This basic literacy project comprised of two booklets, My first Bible Do and Learn Book, (Bibele ya ka ya Mošomo le go Ithutha Puku ya 1) and My 2nd Bible Do and Learn Book (Bibele ya ka ya go Dira le go Ithutha Puku ya 2) is specifially aimed at preschool children and foundation phase learners (Gr R,1 and 2).
The BSSA approached two mother-tongue speakers to help with the development, translation and edit of the Sepedi booklets. Mr Mpho Molapo helped with the development and translation of the material and Ms Nkeke Thosago with the edit.
Some years ago the Bible Society became aware of thousands of children in poorer areas who attend day care centres, but are not exposed to literacy at all. Many of these children do not have the privilege of attending Grade R (reception phase) and are often behind when they start Grade 1. When one compares these children's circumstances to those of a child from an affluent home who is exposed to some 400 hours of literacy before he or she starts school; it is evident that many marginalised children begin their schooling with a backlog that is difficult to overcome.
After thorough research the Bible Society decided to develop Bible-based literacy material. The programme is based on the Do and Learn Method, developed by the late Dr Rose Botha which was graciously made available to the Bible Society. These booklets engage virtually all five senses to develop basic reading and writing. Teaching is made easy through the use of colourful illustrations, icons, flashcards and activities such as reading, writing, numeracy, drawing and singing.
With reference to literacy, Rev Dirk Gevers, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bible Society, quoted the former president of the USA, Bill Clinton, who once said: "Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and responsibility." "The task of the Bible Society is community focused and with this project we hope to make a difference in our communities by helping to achieve this responsibility towards our children. Not only can these booklets make a contribution to the reading and writing skills of children, but they will already begin to discover the Bible, with its message that changes lives and establish values, at a young age."
The material is available in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Sesotho, isiZulu and now also in Sepedi. The material will eventually be available in all 11 official languages.