Cadbury is encouraging South Africans to share their homegrown stories with the launch of its Homegrown Stories initiative. This initiative is the latest step in a long-term social mission to grow, co-author, distribute and inspire relatable children’s stories in all 11 official South African languages. 

While the literacy crises in South Africa continues, many experts agree that learning to read in one’s mother tongue can helps combat this issue. According to early literacy specialist, author, and translator, Dr Xolisa Guzula, “Research shows that children learn better when they are grounded in their mother tongue.”

However, what exacerbates the problem is that most kids only have access to books that are not in their home languages. Only 2% of children’s books published commercially in South Africa are in local African languages. 

“In a country where approximately eight out of ten people speak a home language other than English, creating relatable stories in indigenous languages is critical if we hope to improve childhood literacy,” says Cadbury.

Last year, Cadbury Dairy Milk asked the public to translate words into their mother tongue. A team of young local authors then weaved these words into exciting new stories. 

To date over 500 stories have been translated and made available for download from the Cadbury Digital Library with an additional 45 000 books printed and distributed directly to the children who needed them the most.South Africa is a nation of natural storytellers, crafted through our shared experiences and diversity. 

This year, Cadbury is encouraging South Africans to tap into their innate storytelling abilities and, by using their everyday interests and experiences as inspiration, generously share a homegrown story in their beloved home language. 

“With a goal to increase the number of homegrown stories, available in all local African languages, to 1,000 by the end of the year. What better way to advance this mission than by bringing South Africans from all walks of life together to participate in a collective labour of love,” says Lara Sidersky, Mondelez SA Category Lead for Chocolate.

“Together a small generous act of sharing a story can create lasting impact on a child’s life. An authentic story can encourage a child to want to read more, which in turn can open new worlds and introducing opportunities for the next generation. 

“By sharing our own homegrown stories, we are hoping to create a space where our children can see themselves reflected in the books that shape their childhood.”