The FunDza Literacy Trust is a highly significant contributor to the growth of literacy in South Africa. It operates several simultaneous projects, including bursaries for trainee teachers, and teacher developers, among other projects.
Of particular significance is its story project aimed at youth readers. This is an online story platform, whose format is 4-7 chapter stories with content relevant to young people, released at a rate of one chapter per day, online and on mobi. The readership of these stories is above 30 0000, an astonishing and encouraging number, given the sorry history and continued prevalence of illiteracy in South Africa.
The authors of these stories include some professional writers, some amateur writers and some students. The site contains a library as well as an interactive function.
The University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Education in Johannesburg runs a third year degree course in the pedagogy of Creative Writing. Students write collaborative short stories for the Wits hotspot on the FunDza site, catering for a local youth readership, with the aim of enhancing literacy, creativity and inclusivity amongst the youth, and encouraging reading.
Dr. Karen Lazar is an educator at the Maharishi Institute, a non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has taught English at the University of the Witwatersrand, in both the Faculty of the Humanities and the Faculty of Education.