My name is Sive Sibenya and since I started working for the FunDza Literacy Trust, nothing has been the same and my life has changed drastically, in a positive way.
I started working for FunDza on the 10th August 2017. I was hired under a three-month contract, where I would be working as a Fanz writer editor. I edit the writing (stories, poems etc.) submitted by the young Fanz writers that come through to us, and I also provide feedback on the work submitted. My job outline also consists of facilitating workshops with young people in educational institutions, such as False Bay College and Christel House Academy to name a few.
In September, I was asked to carry out a very exciting task: conducting a workshop to a bunch of young and enthusiastic South African scholars in Port Elizabeth, as part of National Book Week.
I conducted my first ever individual workshop on my own. I was excited about it. I learned very quickly all about responsibility. I handled the workshop well, I thought. And, what an unforgettable experience it was! I will never forget the people I met there. I engaged with many who share the same passion and dedication as we do at the FunDza Literacy Trust: people who share our vision of improving and enhancing the literacy levels of South African teenagers and young adults, and encouraging them to see that reading is really fun.
Before I started working for FunDza, I had no idea about the type of work they do or about the significance of the work. But since I joined this winning and passionate FunDza team, I have grown to realise that there is a dire need for this type of community outreach. FunDza’s phenomenal initiative has been running for over 6 years, and continues to grow the numbers of FunDza readers and writers, even reaching youth outside of South Africa’s borders through the fundza.mobi site. What I love the most about the mobi site is that it offers a platform and an opportunity for any young person who believes in themselves to become a writer.
One of the most fundamental aspects of FunDza’s work is that it has a dream of empowering every young person living in South Africa (and beyond too) with the opportunity of finding free and appropriate reading materials online, so that they can read for fun. The best thing about the fundza.mobi site is that its content is free and easily accessible for all to use. All our users have to do is log on to the site, the Android app or the app through FreeBasics.com and they will find FunDza’s free ‘library on a phone’. It’s filled with reading materials, ranging from poems to stories, articles and even children’s stories, suitable for all ages, races and genders.
At FunDza, we believe that reading is fun, and that if we can spread this positive message, we might be able to help a lot of young teens to be better educated and equipped to be valuable assets in our country. We want to see reading to be seen as being just as fun as playing soccer or watching a wrestling match!
It was only after I was welcomed and made to feel like I was a part of the FunDza family that I realised the true importance of FunDza’s work.
The importance of somebody being able to read, and them being able to understand what they read, can’t be stressed enough. It is going to be a turning point for the next generations of South African teenagers and young adults. When the majority of South Africans are able to read, and are reading for enjoyment, it will be a revolutionary turn in our country’s history!
I believe with all my might that, with the right amount of initiative and proper action taken, this country can see a better future. People who can read and write well are at such an advantage in society; for illiterate people, the challenges can prove to be defeating.