Inspiring a culture of reading
Cebo Solombela (pictured right) is a 30-year-old literacy activist who inspires and cultivates the culture of reading and writing using fun methods. “It is said that isiXhosa is a dying language. I want to prove all those who believe this are wrong, by developing exciting activities which will assist in cultivating the love of isiXhosa in young learners,” said Solombela.
Growing up at Zazulwana in Butterworth, Solombela said it was hard to get a hold of reading content for pleasure. “When I was in High school I struggled to read for meaning, mainly because we didn’t have enough books to read for pleasure. My father used to buy me newspapers so that I could read different literature other than what we used to get at school,” said Solombela.
Solombela would compile sentences by cutting out words from the newspapers that his father would bring for him. He said that this contributed towards his passion for developing reading material and it helped him read for meaning.
Solombela is currently the club coordinator at the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development where he is involved in working with rural schools in Mqanduli, Mthatha and Bizana to support foundation phase classrooms through the Magic Classroom Collective project. He is also a content developer for a school-based program called Pemba Mfundi at Masakhe Primary School.
The program is facilitated by the University of Fort Hare’s BEd students. “The program strives to support the culture of reading and writing as well as providing a platform for the BEd student teachers to experience the classroom environment,” explained Solombela.