That, according to Ling Dobson, Festival founder and CEO of event sponsor Pam Golding Properties Knysna& Plett, is the main aim of the Festival Youth programme. “The festival was initiated by a strong desire to engage with the younger community, to allow their Imagination to take flight through writing of short stories, poems and essays.”
The Festival hosted a writing competition every year for the last 10 years in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa for kids in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay area. Approximately 2000 Primary & High schools learners from 25 schools took part.
Dobson said to stimulate literary awareness the Festival also started to host workshops in 2015, focusing on both the skill and sheer enjoyment of writing and reading.
“Over the past few years we have reached learners in community schools in Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Rheenendal, Karatara and Sedgefield. Nearly 1000 learners have benefited from workshops designed to instill and inspire interest, enhance writing skills and to assist them in expressing themselves.”
She said the workshops, facilitated by the Cape Town NGO FunDza, have been hosted in English and Afrikaans, with approx 20 - 40 children at each workshop. “Literacy is a powerful tool with lifelong benefits. Reading books and stories influence one’s choices, it gives value to lives, it enhances critical and creative thinking and encourages personal development.”
Dobson said the Festival also wanted to contribute to education. “Funds are being raised by Festival events and Literacy Liaison events during the year. After our last Literary Liaison Panel discussion we were thrilled to raise enough money towards a full bursary for Lixa Sithonga for 2019 at Knysna Primary. He is a promising student who actively enjoys sport and achieves well academically. We want to thank the public for their support as without that it would not be possible to give back to our community. ”
For more information about the programme visit www.knysnaliteraryfestival.co.za.