Thanduxolo Mkoyi is the managing director of Eyentsatshane For the Little Ones Early Childhood Development Project, an initiative that aims to develop child literacy in Khayelitsha. The organisation helps to develop children’s vocabularies by promoting reading, writing, puppetry and storytelling. “I would like to see every child being able to read before they get to grade four,” says Mkoyi, who believes that exposure to the power of storytelling, reading aloud and having access to storybooks in languages children understand forms a solid frame of reference that shapes their learning.
Mkoyi is also the deputy chairperson of the Literacy Association of South Africa’s Western Cape branch and has been featured in the Activate! Change Drivers Heroes book. He has written literacy papers, created training content and facilitated as a trainer across the country. Some of the children’s stories he’s written have been published by youth programme Nal’ibali and broadcast on SABC radio stations.
“I have been an ambassador for reading for enjoyment through Nal’ibali for four years and worked with the South African Book Development Council as a National Book Week ambassador and Wordathon facilitator. I helped design storytelling training materials and facilitated training for the Centre For Early Childhood Development. I have also worked closely with the Western Cape government through their programme Year Beyond,” he says, noting that these have all been incredible milestones in his career considering his own adversities growing up.
This is why, when he reflects on his younger self, he says he’d encourage himself to play more, read more, make mistakes and allow a bigger space for failure. “I’d also say ‘continue to dream big and take risks, despite your circumstances, because failure is a great teacher’. But most importantly I’d say read, read and read: fill your tank with knowledge!’”