Cape Town - Shrieks of excitement from little masked faces could be heard across Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill, on Wednesday, in celebration of International Literacy Day.
Twenty-five schools across the Cape Flats comprising around 25 000 learners simultaneously read, Yola and the Trusted Crown, by local author Siphokazi Madlingozi during the nationally observed 9am-10am literacy hour.
Donning their own paper crowns, each learner received a copy of the newly published book, commissioned and launched by Coronation Fund Managers.
With illustrations by Thabiso Gcwensa, the book shares a positive message of resilience and hope for children learning to cope with the impact of Covid-19.
Event organiser, Living Through Learning distributed 25 000 copies of the book to the 25 beneficiary schools.
Principal Gavin Alkana said learners from Grade R to Grade 7 participated in the day’s event, to develop a love for reading.
“It was wonderful to meet the author and for our kids, because now the author is not far removed,” said Alkana.
Grade 5 educator, Zeenat Smith said, “For our children, a book is a chance to escape sometimes circumstances that are not the best. Sometimes it is adverse circumstances and sometimes it is circumstances that we can't even imagine. So a book gives flight to the imagination.”
Coronation Group Head of Marketing Wendy Bergsteedt said Coronation supported the schools with an Adventure Reading Room and by supplying the books.
“Our children in troubled areas such as these need our support. They need hope and we need to give them that hope, to show them that there is more to their lives than what they see around them. So that's unlocking imagination and the power of reading,” said Bergsteedt.
Madlingozi said the book was to help make sense of the current situation for children.
“I thought the easiest thing to do is to reassure them and tell them things are going to be fine, you’re never alone and should things go wrong, how do you handle that. It's really about helping them cope and finding alternatives for this very strange situation we find ourselves in.”
Learners also took part in a video competition to win prizes for their school libraries.