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africanstorybook.org

I first found out about this open source platform for books from a Google UK employee, who was on the same wine tasting tour as me,  in South Africa back in 2018.

As soon as I got back to Canada, I started looking into this method of making my book more available to readers in Africa. (I wanted to write “back home to Canada” but it seems so strange to me, as I was born and raised in South Africa).

I initially decided to make my English and isiZulu editions available on the open source platform, africanstorybook.org. Since then, the English version has been adapted and ASB approved under the title “Wayan and the turtles”.

The open source platform allows individuals to upload new stories, or upload translations of an existing story.

The works are published under creative commons copyright, which means that they are allowed to be translated, adapted and used, as long as the original author is credited. These works can also be accessed online, or downloaded for free.

That opens up a huge range of possibilities for NGOs and libraries in Africa: all you need is an internet connection and/ or a printer.

Since my initial upload, we have now received three extra translations of “Wayan and the Turtle King”:

Amharic: ” ዋያን እና የእንቁራሪቶቹ ንጉሥ 

Amharic is spoken as a first language by the Amharas and as a lingua franca by other populations residing in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.

With 21,811,600 total speakers as of 2007, including around 4,000,000 second language speakers, Amharic is the second-most common language of Ethiopia (after Oromo) and second-most commonly spoken Semitic language in the world (after Arabic).

Thank you so much, Mezemir Girma, for translating my story into Amharic!

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Arabic (Egyptian dialect): ” سليم_و_السَّلاحِف “

For this edition, The Red Sea Project translated the book. When I began my Kickstarter in 2017, one of my goals was to have an Arabic edition of my story, because I have lived in Egypt and traveled to Morocco a few times. I have always been blown away by the hospitality and kindness of the Egyptian people, and I am so grateful that I am able to give back to the kids of Egypt, albeit in a small way. A huge thanks goes to Ahmed Fouad, his sister, as well as Sara Campbell, for putting me in touch with someone passionate about the environment and literacy!

Ahmed changed the names and story slightly to suit Egyptian culture, so Wayan is now Selim and King Galih is Yasser. Wonderful.

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Kiswahili: ” Wayan na kasa”

Kiswahili is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of East and Southern Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, some parts of Malawi, Somalia, Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The estimated range of speaker varies from 2 million (2003) to 150 million people!

Thank you to Ursula Nafula for translating my story.

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Malagasy:  ” Wayan sy ilay Mpanjaka Sokatra “

I have also uploaded the Malagasy translation by Aina Harvel-Randrenjatovo, who helped out on the Boky Mamiko project. This way, all NGOs in Madagascar can benefit from the book.

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isiZulu: ” UWayan Nenkosi Yofudu”

Thank you to Mpho Dlamini, who helped me translate Wayan and the Turtle King into isiZulu.

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English: ” Wayan and the turtles”

Thanks to Africanstorybook for adapting my story and making an ASB approved edition.

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My wish is that the amount of translations will grow, and more importantly, that people know about this wonderful initiative by SAIDE, as well as their funding partners:

Comic Relief UK
Cameron Schrier USA
Oppenheimer Memorial Trust
Google.org
Zenex Foundation

I want to see more equality in the world. Literacy opens many doors in life. I truly believe that books can save lives and shape destinies.

It is incredibly important to preserve the languages spoken on the African continent (and Madagascar). There are many schools of thought that say kids should learn to read in their own language, and learn how to express themselves in their mother tongue first before learning a second language. Others say that kids are sponges and they will absorb whatever you teach them as toddlers.

I am in favour of kids learning and preserving their own language and culture, as well as learning another language to help them get around in life.

Please tell your friends about africanstorybook.org and consider printing a few copies of a book before you visit a country that could benefit from receiving books! If you have a friend who could contribute a translation, that would be amazing too!