In celebration of Africa Day last Saturday (25 May 2024), the Fundza Literacy Trust proudly has announced its commitment to enhancing access to reading and writing resources in South Africa by providing content in multiple indigenous languages.

This effort underscores the importance of multilingualism, as stories educate, connect, and enrich communities. Fundza aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals by embracing linguistic diversity, particularly those focused on quality education and reducing inequalities.

“As a South African EdTech dedicated to promoting literacy and access to literary resources, Fundza is thrilled to share this progress, made possible through the generous support of the 476 Charitable Trust,” says Lea-Anne Moses, executive director of the Fundza Literacy Trust. “With funding to bolster multilingualism, we continue fostering a love for reading and writing across African linguistic and geographical boundaries.

“The addition of this content to our digital library,, ensures that this virtual space is inclusive and serves as a powerful cultural force for teens and young people across the continent.”

The 476 Charitable Trust’s funding will be used to publish 17 stories in nine indigenous languages. This platform has provided reading and writing resources to millions of young people in South Africa for over 13 years. With over 4,1-million site visitors in 2023 and over 1,3-million to date in 2024, has become South Africa’s most popular fee-free digital reading and writing platform for young people looking to improve their literacy and critical thinking skills.

Currently, the platform offers content to young people in English, Swahili, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Ndebele, Sesotho, isiZulu and Afrikaaps.

“The 476 Charitable Trust recognises a rainbow nation, with many cultures, and all our official languages. The need to produce stories in the home language of our youth is self-evident, as reading in your home language paints a more vivid picture of the story you are reading, and enables youth to envisage better and see themselves in the stories they read,” shares Charlene Gallimore, a representative of the 476 Charitable Trust.

“Our vision to improve accessibility to reading and writing resources in our country through multilingualism aligns with our commitment to multimodalism. The release of our first audiobook, Taxi to Hell, shortly after World Book Day in April exemplifies this commitment. The audiobook has already been listened to by over 3,500 people, with over 60 comments that encourage continued engagement with the material online,” adds Moses.

Chase Rhys, the new head of content for Fundza, says: “Whether done for works of fiction or nonfiction, the narration of texts remains a popular medium for disseminating information and stories to people in our community and beyond. Be it for educational purposes or as entertainment (or both); the outcomes are the same – a widening and deepening of our relationship with the world.”

Among the many other benefits audiobooks present, the most important is access – something smartphones today have made possible. But beyond physical access, there is a problem of cultural access: audiobooks available in one’s mother tongue are as crucial as reading stories written in the language our youth are comfortable with.

Nafisa Baboo, an accessibility expert, shares the following: “Less than 1% of books on our continent are produced in accessible formats, leaving many children with disabilities living isolated lives, devoid of opportunities to learn and grow. However, making books and content accessible isn’t merely a human right; it’s a gateway to newfound insights and boundless inspiration. I know firsthand the transformative power they hold. By championing accessible publishing, we don’t just open books; we unlock the bravery.”