Stories through the lockdown

Johannesburg, 28th April 2020

MANCOSA partners with African legend, Gcina Mhlophe, for storytelling sessions

MANCOSA’s School of Education has partnered with the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust to commission world-renowned actress, playwright, storyteller and author Gcina Mhlophe to keep children captivated during lockdown with her iconic voice and knack of storytelling.

Dr Mhlophe tells a daily, five-minute story, which are available free of charge on the MANCOSA website ( Professor Zaheer Hamid, academic director at MANCOSA and head of the School of Education, said audio recordings of the storytelling series will be available from 20 April to 1 May 2020. The stories will also be available on MANCOSA’S social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

He said keeping children occupied during the lockdown could prove quite a challenge, and. while some schools were sending out work, many children who were feeling the impact of the current global catastrophe needed a digital diet that was both lighthearted and uplifting.

“Lockdown must not only be about schoolwork for children. They also need time to set their minds free to imagine, dream and indulge in creativity. Our children have been in isolation for the past three weeks. The first couple of days were spent delighting in their newly found freedom out of school. But then what?” he says.

“As part of our humanitarian activities aimed at giving back to communities during the pandemic, we decided to focus on children by keeping them entertained with stories, even if only for a few minutes each day for 10 days,” he added, saying MANCOSA was fortunate to secure award-winning Mhlophe as a narrator.

Mhlophe said she had chosen stories with an African theme and would deliberately expose children to a wide vocabulary and provide them with verbal and mental stimuli – something they would be missing since the closing of schools.

“I have specifically chosen stories that will take children’s minds somewhere else during these dark and gloomy days,” said Mhlophe. “Much loved stories such as Jabulani and the Lion, and stories about jealousy and greed, and finding help where you least expect it. And stories that teach young people that they can grow by experiencing that we are different – it is important to realise that we may not be alike but the differences are what make us unique and special.”