As part of its Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) funding under the banner of “The Role of Children’s Literature in Preserving and Promoting our Indigenous Languages”, Puku commissioned a fact-finding and opinion piece to interrogate the literature and language setwork choices of four main curricular bodies in South Africa in terms of their suitability and appropriateness in content and context, especially in consideration of the country’s unique history and complex contemporary realities. Specifically, the task of the study was to provide Puku with insights on potential engagements with each curricular body on children’s literature in indigenous languages, and to support Puku with its advocacy for the increased inclusion on setwork lists of books Puku recommends, has or will review, children’s literature that represents a far wider selection of African writers, and especially original works in African languages.
 
The paper has first focused on upper secondary school with attention leaning more to books in English as a start. The hope is that future funding will expand the study to include the literature in indigenous languages and to attend to all grades in schools. 
 
The document is written by a team of seasoned international educators who have worked extensively with all four curriculum bodies, and have been a part of Puku. Lead writer Radha Pillay is the author of two widely used English textbooks. She is also an award-winning English language & literature educator, teacher trainer, former head of school, assessor, moderator, facilitator and consultant with 30 years of experience. She has taught in South Africa, Swaziland and Canada. Supporting the paper is Nomvuyo L. N. Mzamane, a school start-up expert and a multimedia edutainment specialist who is also an award-winning teacher and acclaimed lecturer with over three decades of service in diverse education spaces. Her passions include children’s literature, language and culture activism, social justice and children’s rights. Nomvuyo has lived in and travelled to over 20 countries around the world and is fluent in 8 languages. She volunteers for several child protection organisations. Other educators in various countries including South Africa, were also part of online debates as the paper was in development.
 
The study will start being published on the Puku website in coming weeks as a series of blogs, and its content lends itself well to future webinars.