Image courtesy of Mxit.
South African social mobile app Mxit and the FunDza Literacy Trust have collaborated to promote a culture of reading amongst South African youth.
In advance of the weekend’s international literacy celebrations, FunDza has published more than 100 short stories on Mxit, reaching a monthly readership of 50,000, viewing more than 1.3 million pages.
Ros Haden, content developer at FunDza, said: “For FunDza literacy is more than just making sense of the text.
“Our goal is to get readers to engage critically and creatively with the events, ideas and emotions expressed in stories. The ability to empathise with characters in narratives is a powerful tool for shifting attitudes and ultimately encouraging social change.”
Offering a virtual library of books, novels and weekly short stories reflecting the lives of readers and encouraging commentary, FunDza supplies easy access to well-written books.
“We reach out to our readers on their mobile phones. With Mxit, it doesn’t matter where they live or what phone they have, our content is always available,” Haden said.
Reading material supplied through the mobile platform serves to address relevant issues such as teen pregnancy, gangs and rape, as well as school achievements and future dreams.
Haden explained the importance for youth to identify with characters and reflect on their own lives.
“We know that reading is a critical part of being an involved and empowered young South African, and we want to make sure that more of our youth have access to exciting and relevant stories,” he said.
Themed ‘21st Century’, International Literacy Day on September 8 will be celebrated by various organisations across the continent, such as literacy website Nal’ibali, which stands for the reading rights of children.