FunDza is celebrating the rich diversity of languages in our country with a new ‘African Language Banner’ on its homepage and you can find it here. This is a space dedicated to publishing and promoting stories, essays, blogs, plays and poetry in African languages and showcasing young talented writers who write in their mother tongues.
FunDza has always published in a range of African languages, but often these stories, poetry and plays get lost in the FunDza ‘library’ which has content, primarily in English due to reader demand.
These stories have now been – brought to the fore – so that they can get their time in the sun and they are stories such as Ukube Ngangazi (Wandile’s Journey) by Amanda Ngema, who has a big fan following for her stories and poetry in her mother tongue of isiZulu to Inkinga, (Dilemma) by equally popular author Khethiwe Luthuli. Plays in isiXhosa are very popular and this week one of our fanz plays, Lungelo Nqophiso titled, ‘Ekugqibeleni’ (At last) has made it onto the homepage banner for readers to enjoy! Speaking to Lungelo about his motivation to write in isiXhosa he said, “I grew up listening to iintsomi folk tales in my language and writing in it makes it easier for me to communicate my message.”
FunDza is fortunate to have highly talented translators, many of whom are also writers themselves which helps them, as the story-holders, to stay true to the voice of their young mentees writers, or to the work of the FunDza fanz that they translate. These writer/translators include: Tshifiwha Given Mukwevho who translates into Tshivenda and is a writer himself, Sifiso Mzobe who mentors young writers and translates their and his own stories into isiZulu and Sello Mahapeletsa who translates into Sepedi.
We also have a wealth of children’s stories in African Languages thanks to the African Storybook Project which grants open access to picture storybooks in the languages of Africa. And in our new banner space children will be able to read more stories in their mother tongue or be read to!
FunDza is celebrating African languages on social media every week on our Facebook and Instagram pages. The posts are getting a lot of love from our followers and this we love to see. We uploaded two posts asking our followers how you say “I love writing” and “I love reading” in their mother tongues and the responses have been both amazing and interesting to see. Responses like “Ngiyakutsandza kubhala” in siSwati, “Ke rata go kwala” in seTswana, “Ndiyakuthanda ukufunda” in isiXhosa have helped us engage more with our readers.