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Award-winning author encourages prisoners to champion indigenous languages by reading and writing

Tswelelopele Correctional Centre inmates received books as part of the Literacy Life event. Picture: Olebogeng Molale

By Olebogeng Molale

Multi-award-winning author and Lecture at the Sol Plaatje University, Sabata Mpho Mokae, has encouraged inmates at the Tswelopele correctional centre in Kimberley to embrace and promote their indigenous languages through writing and reading.

Mokae was speaking on Saturday at a “Literacy for Life” event, which is a collaboration between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Sol Plaatje University.

“Our objective is to promote indigenous languages, so we encourage you to also write books in your home languages, being in prison does not mean you cannot make a change in your life, that is why we saw it fit that we come here and donate these books to you today,” Mokae told the inmates.

During the event, books were donated to the centre to promote reading and writing. Mokae said that inmates should be motivated, so that they leave prison and become better members of society. He said that can be achieved through the promotion of reading books, especially inspirational books about life.

Sabata Mokae, an author and a lecturer at the Sol Plaatje University Picture: Olebogeng Molale

Solomon Tulamo, who is an inmate at Tswelopele said that the donation of the books will help keep them busy.

“As a writer, it is inspiring to see writers such as Mr. Mokae here today, this is a great opportunity for me to learn more about writing, as I am still busy with my poetry book named Manong,” he said.

Another inmate, who requested to be kept anonymous, said the prison routine is monotonous, the books will be of great assistance in keeping them busy.

“I am happy to see that there are people who care for us as prisoners. I am humbled by today's event because it brings about a bit of change for us. Now we have something other than newspapers to read, I am grateful for that.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO, Sello Hatang, encouraged the inmates to be champions of literacy even after they are released from prison.

“It is not what you leave for people, but what you leave with people. May the Gods of Africa help you flap your wings as you move out of this place.”


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