Fourteen-year-old from Hammarsdale recognised in national storytelling contest

Fourteen-year-old from Hammarsdale recognised in national storytelling contest:

Sabelo Khomo

Sabelo Khomo KZN provincial Story Bosso winner

Nal’ibali, the national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has announced 14-year-old Sabelo Khomo from Hammarsdale, as the KwaZulu-Natal provincial winner of its annual storytelling contest, Story Bosso. Chosen from over 6 000 entries collected from across the country and over 1 000 entries in KwaZulu-Natal, Khomo’s winning entry, Ugogo nengane, is a folktale told to him by his grandmother.

Each year Nal’ibali hosts its month-long Story Bosso drive in September (Literacy Month), to encourage members of the public, young and old, to get storytelling in their home languages. A simple yet effective method to lay the literacy foundations that children will need to learn to read and write; storytelling is something that anybody can do: anytime, anywhere. The sharing of stories is also part of the collective culture and heritage of all South Africans.

This year the talent search attracted a record number of entries and included a provincial road-show with celebrated storytellers, including Gcina Mhlope and Sindiwe Magona, giving special demonstrations of their craft to adults and children in different parts of the country. Driving the initiative at local level, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors held over 100 audition and entry events in seven provinces to source stories directly from communities and from Nal’ibali’s network of over 1 000 reading clubs.

Sanelisiwe Ntuli, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentor says Khomo is a natural storyteller with a strong sense of creativity – he enjoys telling stories and making up new ones from folktales his grandmother shares with him. “Sabelo’s story is my favourite because it has not one, but two elements of storytelling in it: song and education. Him, or the story having music in it, works for him,” commented Mpumy Ndlovu, a Story Bosso judge, actress and storyteller.

Khomo is joined by seven additional provincial winners: Java Hoy in the Eastern Cape; Lethuxolo November in Gauteng; Dimakatso Letsoele in Mpumalanga; Annah Gumbi in North West, Maggy Matladi in Limpopo and Gaireyah Fredericks in the Western Cape. Each provincial winner has been awarded with a cash prize of R 1000, a Nal’ibali branded cap, a R500 book voucher and R250 airtime. The national winner is Lindiwe Makhoba from the Free State.

Says Nal’ibali Managing Director, Jade Jacobsohn: “An ancient practice used to shape societies, stories not only have the power to build bonds between generations and connect communities, but ignite the parts of the brain connected with imagination, empathy and language learning in children; helping them develop sophisticated reasoning and become informed, empowered citizens. For these reasons, it’s important that we work together to keep storytelling alive in our homes, classrooms, and communities. As an organisation and a country, we should proudly celebrate storytelling.”

To listen to the winning stories, or to find out more about Story Bosso and the Nal’ibali campaign, visit the Nal’ibali website on

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination, and school success. To access children’s stories in a range of SA languages and tips on reading and writing with children, visit, or find us on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA

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