All the world’s a stage, said the famous bard William Shakespeare. But what do you do when the lockdown shrinks it to the size of your living room? After introducing South Africans to Khoisan history, heritage and folklore with a Nama story last weekend, National Book Week’s Books Beyond Words online storytelling event will present a live puppet show this weekend bringing the stage to the living room.
Margaret Auerbach of Spellbound Puppets will present ‘Forest Adventure’. Margaret is a professional puppeteer and has been doing shows for schools, parties and special events for a number of years. She also facilitates puppet making workshops.
The story train chugs along this weekend with stories presented in Afrikaans by Martelize Faber. She will read two stories “Sneeuwitjie en die sewe dwergies” and “Die takkie wat nie wou knak nie”.
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 kids 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 Arts and Culture (DAC).
“The isolation has been hard on families. It has been our effort to lend harried parents a helping hand and keep children busy, entertained and informed while they are in a lockdown and in most cases, bored,” says Elitha van der Sandt, CEO, South African Book Development Council.
“Storytelling has tremendous value in promoting literacy, books and reading. Over the past 7 weeks we have invited a number of celebrated storytellers to create a happy environment for children and make stories accessible to as many children as possible. Never have stories and the power of the imagination been so important than in this time of enforced isolation.”
Stories are comforting and are a welcome escape from the prolonged isolation that has come to define the pandemic. In these confusing times, children need stories more than ever to allow their imagination to run free as have been ejected from their familiar surroundings of classwork, friends and playground.
If you are joining the story sessions for the first time, all previous storytelling videos are available for watching again on NBW’s Facebook page. Please join Margaret and Martelize this weekend i.e. Saturday 23 May at 11:00 on NBW’s Facebook page and escape for an adventure with puppet Schmeezle!
“We hope our efforts, and those of our storytellers will help children retreat into their own world for a bit. It does take a digital village to raise a child,” says van der Sandt in conclusion.