Story Telling Winner – 6317 Entries


Nal’ibali, the national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has announced 11-year-old Lindiwe Makhoba from Mangaung, Bloemfontein, as the national winner of its annual storytelling contest, Story Bosso. Chosen from over 6 000 entries collected from across the country, Makhoba’s winning entry, My Life as a Princess, is a masterfully-told, multilingual poem with the power to inspire the nation.

Each year Nal’ibali hosts its month-long Story Bosso drive in September or Literacy Month, to encourage members of the public, young and old, to get storytelling in their home languages. A simple yet effective method to lay the literacy foundations that children will need to learn to read and write; storytelling is something that anybody can do: anytime, anywhere. The sharing of stories is also part of the collective culture and heritage of all South Africans.

This year the talent search attracted a record number of entries and included a provincial road-show with celebrated storytellers, including Gcina Mhlope and Sindiwe Magona, giving special demonstrations of their craft to adults and children in different parts of the country. Driving the initiative at local level, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors held over 100 audition and entry events in seven provinces to source stories directly from communities and from Nal’ibali’s network of over 1 000 reading clubs.

Makhoba, a Nal’ibali reading-club member, entered at Kgato Primary School where she attends school, and where her win was announced on Friday 27 October. With a passion and talent for poetry, the award is an acknowledgement of her promising skill.

“One of the most important aspects of any story or poem is it’s potential to inspire change. Lindiwe does exactly that. Her confidence was evident and her use of her home language to harness her delivery made it rhythmic and poetic. The use of two languages is tricky, but when mastered as in this case, it becomes exceptional,” commented Bongani Godide, a Story Bosso judge and Gauteng-based storyteller.

An original piece written by Makhoba herself, the inspiration for the poem came from the discrimination she has experienced as a child. Her intention in writing it is to encourage adults and other children to recognise and see the value of young people.

Makhoba has been awarded R5 000, a book voucher to the value of R1 000, R250 airtime and the title of this year’s Story Bosso. She is joined by runners up in seven provinces: Java Hoy in the Eastern Cape; Lethuxolo November in Gauteng; Sabelo Khomo in KwaZulu-Natal; Dimakatso Letsoele in Mpumalanga; Annah Gumbi in the North West; Maggy Matladi in Limpopo and Gaireyah Frederick in the Western Cape. The winner of the South African Sign Language category, made possible by Diaconia – an initiative of the NG Kerk and VG Kerk, is Henrico Frans in the Western Cape.

Says Nal’ibali Managing Director, Jade Jacobsohn: “An ancient practice used to shape societies, stories not only have the power to build bonds between generations and connect communities, but ignite the parts of the brain connected with imagination, empathy and language learning in children; helping them develop sophisticated reasoning and become informed, empowered citizens. For these reasons, it’s important that we work together to keep storytelling alive in our homes, classrooms, and communities. As an organisation and a country, we should proudly celebrate storytelling. Well done Lindiwe!”

To listen to the winning stories, or to find out more about Story Bosso and the Nal’ibali campaign, visit the Nal’ibali website on

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination, and school success. To access children’s stories in a range of SA languages and tips on reading and writing with children, visit, or find us on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA