Share a story for Africa

For author and publisher Yamkela Tywakadi, this year’s World Book and Copyright Day theme ‘Share A Story’ has particular resonance.

Picture: Author and Publisher Yamkela Tywakadi

Tywakadi, a South African author and commissioning Editor at Sifiso Publishers, knows that most books are written in English and don’t necessarily share the stories that are known to many readers on the continent.

“Publishing houses publish books in Africa but they don’t publish for Africans,” says Tywakadi. “Most books are written in English and are usually accessed in suburban bookstores, which leaves African (language) speaking people in townships and villages sidelined.”

The first book Yamkela published was written in isiXhosa and was a success; it is now used by Grade 9 scholars who are learning isiXhosa. She is an author of both fiction and non-fiction and she writes in isiZulu, isiXhosa and English - and in this way, she has played her part in filling the gap for the lack of books written in indigenous languages successfully. She writes children’s’ and adult books.

“It is the responsibility of authors and publishers to write and sell books that are relatable to Africans,” she says.

According to UNESCO, World Book and Copyright Day on April 23 marks the anniversaries of the deaths of world renowned writers such as Miguel Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. UNESCO chose the day to celebrate the significance of books by boosting and nurturing the culture of reading and the protection of copyright.

Research shows that children who read understand other cultures better and have a bigger vocabulary compared to those who don’t. UNESCO supports campaigns to encourage book reading, including supporting local libraries.

For more information on World Book and Copyright Day, visit UNESCO.

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