Mobile Phones get Young South Africans Reading
New Readers Publishers (NRP) based at the Centre for Adult Education and the FunDza Literacy Trust are getting young South Africans reading on their mobile phones.
FunDza has a mobi site, linked to a popular portal on the instant messaging service and social network, Mxit, which is introducing young folk to relevant and exciting fiction and non-fiction works.
NRP answered FunDza’s call for assistance to widen the amount of content available in the mobile portal and has provided a number of stories – in English and other languages – to FunDza readers.
‘It is a reality that many people have access to cell phones and few have access to libraries or books,’ said NRP Project Manager, Ms Sonya Keyser. ‘We want people to be able to read some of our stories, free of charge, on their cell phone. This is a way to spark a love of reading.’
FunDza Managing Trustee, Ms Mignon Hardie, says the aim is to grow demand for reading by commissioning and showcasing content which speaks to the lives and experiences of young people, specifically those from poor communities without easy access to books and libraries.
‘FunDza’s mobi network is a mini-library for those on the move. It also contains new, specially commissioned fiction written by some of South Africa’s top teen and young adult writers,' said Hardie.
‘This mini library is growing all the time. A new story is released each Friday and is serialised over the course of a week, meaning readers can log on each day and find a new chapter. This serialisation is helping to get readers hooked. The chapters are short and gripping – often ending on a cliff-hanger which has readers hankering for more.’
While the majority of FunDza’s content is in English, the organisation recognises the need for exciting, local content in indigenous languages.
‘We are adding more NRP isiZulu stories, along with their English equivalents,’ said Keyser.
- Melissa Mungroo