Celebrating its recent status as 2015 laureate of the world’s largest award for children’s literature and reading promotion, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, staff members, friends and associates of PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), gathered in the Neville Alexander Building at the University of Cape Town on Friday 09 October for an evening of entertainment.
Director of PRAESA, Carole Bloch, explained how fitting it was to host this celebration of PRAESA’s work in a building recently named after PRAESA founder and director till 2011, Neville Alexander. Sharing the speech she made earlier this year in Stockholm when she collected the award, Bloch highlighted the significance of PRAESA’s work since 1992 in the research and development of multilingual literature and holistic story-based learning approaches.
“Neville Alexander argued consistently for the necessity of using African languages as a democratic imperative in South Africa and played an inspiring role in the ongoing struggle for equality and against racism and other forms of prejudice in South Africa,” said Bloch.
Alexander offered Bloch a welcome home in PRAESA to develop, with colleagues, her ideas of how to transform early literacy teaching and learning approaches and the PRAESA team has played a catalytic role in its work to develop African languages and support multilingual education.
Most recently, PRAESA’s work has been taken to scale in the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, and the event brought members of the Nal’ibali team from across six provinces together to celebrate.
Joined by many friends and colleagues of PRAESA, including Alexander’s immediate family, the group were entertained by the beautiful singing of the Cape Town Youth Choir; hip-hop pioneer, Emile YX?’s mixed mense music as well as messages and singing from members of Nal’ibali.