Creative “all-rounders” Craig Urbani and Thembile Tshuma are bringing their voices and virtuosity to online storytelling this weekend. Retelling stories about hope, South Africa’s celebrated artists have been doing their bit on National Book Week’s Books Beyond Words platform to uplift the moods of both children and parents amidst the global pandemic.
The weekly event hosted by South Africa’s annual reading awareness week, National Book Week (NBW), dedicated to encouraging leisure reading and promoting the importance of books, has been inviting storytellers every weekend since the lockdown began in March for a live event to tell children an interesting story, including from their own books.
NBW is a joint initiative of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
A familiar face on local TV and theatre circuit, Craig is a well-known actor and presenter. His repertoire includes various theatre shows such as Chicago, Rock of Ages, Sound of Music and Rocky Horror Show. On TV, he has appeared in Isidingo, Scandal, Makoti, Binnelanders, Ashes to Ashes and amongst others. He is also a singer and a musician with his brand-new single expected to hit the radio during the next two weeks.
He will present a story about a little monkey who lost his mom and is titled – Where’s my Mom?
As an artist, Thembile gives creative expression to his talent through storytelling, theatre and drama. He has also been involved in the performing arts industry for over 10 years as a dancer, choreographer, musician, percussionist, actor and puppeteer. He has participated in National Book Week events for many years and is always a hit with the children. He will be recounting a story of a visitor who cooks delicious soup from only three stones for a village where he is not welcome and is titled – The stone soup.
“Books Beyond Words is working on many levels, for one, it has helped us unite professional storytellers behind a cause during the pandemic and that is to ease children’s anxieties through stories. This is particularly important for nuclear families who rely on such avenues to keep their children engaged. Secondly, the platform affords us an opportunity to give back to the artistic community,” says Elitha van der Sandt, CEO, South African Book Development Council.
“Our storytellers have responded beautifully to the lockdown, enhancing social-distancing by serving as an inspiration for both parents and children to stay home and be influenced by our stories”.
Join us on Saturday 20 June 2020 at 11:00am on NBW’s Facebook page for another weekend of folklore.