From storytelling and interactive exhibitions, to poetry sessions, musical acts and film screenings, the REDISA-sponsored Puku Story Festival held in Grahamstown from 21-26 February 2017 presented an array of educational activities to promote learning in mother tongue.


The annual festival, which kicked off on International Mother Tongue Day (21 February), was hosted by the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation in partnership with the National Arts Festival and the African Studies Department of Rhodes University.


Teachers, learners and the general public were treated to captivating performances by veteran storytellers and musical legends, as well as up-and-coming young poets and authors, many of whom took the opportunity to share their thoughts about the importance of conserving the environment.


Young, highly accomplished poet, musician, storyteller and children’s book writer, Zanele Ndlovu, who plays traditional musical instruments with great skill, facilitated a workshop on how to make indigenous musical instruments from recycled material.


“Collaborating with the Puku Story Festival allows REDISA to influence young minds through these esteemed artists who are admired by the children. What better way to teach our future leaders about important topics such as environmental conservation, recycling and turning waste into worth than through role models and respected community leaders and icons”, said REDISA Director, Stacey Davidson.


Throughout the festival REDISA displayed various items made from recycled materials. Festival goers were surprised to see how tyres can be used to create a variety of items from bags, book covers and pencil cases to floor paving, furniture, cushions and more. 


“The children could not believe how tyres, which are seen as waste, can be turned into such worth. Their faces lit up and their curious minds did not hesitate to ask questions. We also gave each child a REDISA story colouring-in book, which illustrates the many benefits of recycling”, added Davidson.


“The 5th Puku Story Festival was a success beyond our expectations. With REDISA’s support we were able to put on a programme of the highest artistic integrity. The festival has truly established itself as a platform for writers, artists and literacy activists developing indigenous language content for children of all ages. We are humbled by the enthusiastic support of our partners in Grahamstown who made this festival possible”, said Elinor Sisulu, Chairperson of the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.


For more information about REDISA, visit, like them on Facebook (Waste into Worth) and follow them on Twitter (@WasteIntoWorth)

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