Building a reading nation through Tsebo ke Lesedi

Jul 20, 2023 - 12:59
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Building a reading nation through Tsebo ke Lesedi

Editor: Mulamuleli Tshitangano 

Basetsana Sheane  was born on 10 February 2003, she is  20-year-old  and the  founder of Tsebo Ke Lesedi reading club.

She is a speaker, a certified Nal’ibali Literacy Activist and a FUNda Leader. She also runs a stationery business called Bee’s Fluffy & Puffy whereby she sell cute, fluffy & decorated notebooks and diaries for women.

About Tsebo Ke Lesedi

It was established in 2022
Number of permanent members: 25

Tsebo Ke Lesedi is a community-based reading club which caters for primary school children between the ages of 7 and 13. It is mostly active during the school holidays to provide a safe environment for the children in our disadvantaged community to socialise with their peers, improve their literacy skills and to cultivate their love of reading.

It was started as a result of being aware of the literacy crisis we are facing as a country and due to the fact that our town has no recreational activities which the children can participate in during the school holidays.

Under Tsebo Ke Lesedi, we also do visits to local primary schools to educate the children about the importance of being literate and to inform them about the free Nal’ibali reading resources which they have access to and could use in the comfort of their own homes. This is to shatter the notion that reading is an expensive lesisure activity only meant for the rich and affluent communities.

The main aim of Tsebo Ke Lesedi is to create a stable, sustainable culture of reading in impoverished communities like ours. 

"At the moment, I am working with 2 ladies under my leadership, Miss Mpho Matlolane and Miss Mpho Mashea. I have guided them on how they can also do the online Nal’ibali training to equip themselves to become literacy activist themselves. This is a requirement for all the people who want to volunteer at Tsebo Ke Lesedi."

" One of the challenges I have faced in the reading club initially is that majority of the parents could not grasp the whole idea of what a reading club is and what its purpose is. It was hard to get them on board. Eventually they warmed to the idea , they loved it and started to send their children to the reading sessions. A challenge that we’re currently facing is at the moment is that Tsebo Ke Lesedi does not have its own place where we can constantly host the reading club sessions at. I therefore host the sessions either at home or at a public library which is a bit further away from the children’s residential areas. However, not having a place to call out own does not stop us from doing our literacy activism work."

" I work with a number of 25 members. The sessions are mostly active during the school holidays to provide a safe environment for the children to unwind, socialise, and to read for enjoyment. She also visits local public primary schools, educating more than 3000 children about the importance of being literate and providing free Nal’ibali reading resources. Some of the children have shown improvement in their spelling, writing, reading and storytelling skills. Their self-confidence has also improved through the fun, interactive activities they participate in during their sessions." Basetsana added 

Earlier on this year, she raised funds for the #GiftAChildABook initiative for the children to have their own storybooks. The remaining books were then awarded to learners in the schools she visited.

Achievements since the establishment of the club

" My most recent achievements include being honoured as a Kasi Champion for May 2023 by the Khuluma Afrika - Speak Africa Online Magazine and the Sunday World’s Unsung Hero 2023 in the category of “Youth In Education”.  These are all accolades given to the youth and ordinary people who are working tirelessly to make a positive impact in their communities."

More about myself

" I believe that I have a resilient and tenacious spirit. After losing my mother at the tender age of 10, I became an embodiment of my mother’s generous and caring spirit. I strive to become at least half the woman she was everyday or even become a better version of myself which I know she would be proud of."  

" Since my mother’s passing, I have been raised and supported by my father, Serame Sheane, whose love, care and support I will always be grateful for. It’s not easy for a man to raise a girl-child all by himself. I really commend my father for that." She concluded 

Message to the youth

The time is now. Start right now! Whatever dreams and desires you have, start working on them now. You’re never too young to make a difference in this world and to build a good name for yourself.

Fears, doubts and challenges will always be there so there will never really be a perfect moment to start doing something. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do something, you might wait forever.

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Phillimon Sefake Phillimon Sefake is a creative writer and literary scholar