Stories by Talented Durban Learners Exhibited in London

Compiled by Nereshnee Govender and Indhrannie Pillay

Parkvale Primary School Dancing Pencil Story Writing Club started in May 2000 under the mentorship of educator, Veena Gangaram. To date learners have published 18 short stories and 3 anthologies. This year their books will be exhibited at the London Book Fair in England from 16-19 April.

Talented 11 year-old Talia Krishanlall says, “I feel privileged and honoured to know that my stories will be exhibited in London.” She says “Its important for children to read because they will make a better future for themselves. Children should borrow books from libraries and they should read the newspaper so that they can be informed of current news.” Gangaram and the learners are truly indebted to Felicity Keats and umSinsi Press for providing the opportunity to exhibit the books. Keats and umSinsi Press have also made possible the publication and launch of the books.

The aim of the exhibition is to secure sponsorship for the printing of the books to be given to learners in disadvantaged areas in South Africa. 13 year-old Arnold Mzobe says, “I am very excited, I feel like a celebrity.” Mzobe encourages children to read. He says, “It is important to read because it informs you of what’s happening around you.

Mageshan Pillay a thirteen year-old learner and writing enthusiast says, “ Reading and being able to write helps children gain confidence. I am very grateful to my teacher Mrs Gangaram who sacrifices a lot of her time for us.”

Gangaram says, “As the writers grow older, it delights me to see the huge improvement in the quality and length of work written by club members as well as the development of depth in their thinking. I know that this involvement with writing will be of great benefit to them, no matter what course their lives take.”

Learners of dancing Pencil’s Writing Club work after school once a week as an extra mural activity under the guidance of trained mentor, Gangaram.

This year the children of Dancing Pencils Writing Club also had the privilege of being interviewed by SABC 2 on World of Winners – a daily show that is aired at 3:30pm.

Right to Left: Justin Naicker, Mageshan Pillay, Salona Singh, Shrimal Umichand, Nikkita Pillay, Candice Rungen, Shaquille Abdool-Rasheed, Buhle Magwaza.

Front row: Cassandra Natasen, Arnold Mzobe and Talia Krishanlall.

Below we reproduce one of the stories that will appear at the London Book fair.

A Courageous Girl called Alice

 By Salona Singh

Alice was a tall girl with thin long legs. She was often mocked by the children at school because of her appearance. As a result of this mockery she often kept to herself. The popular children at school made her feel like an outcast.

One day the learners went on an excursion to the sea. Alice was reluctant to attend as she had no friends. Whilst at the beach the other children played in the water leaving poor Alice sitting alone on the shore.

Whilst the children were playing the sea became rough. Huge waves rose crashing onto the shore. The children who were playing in the water attempted to make their way back to the shore. Most of them were successful except for Kirsten. She was voted the most popular and most fashionable girl in the school. She made Alice’s school life a nightmare.

Kirsten was caught in a wave and was helpless.

She screamed, “Help, Help! Someone help please!!!” But nobody could assist her.

Alice who was an outcast simply sprang into action. She was an excellent swimmer and with her long legs and arms was able to fight the stronger waves and rescue the drowning and helpless Kirsten.

She showed total selflessness and courage when she braved the rough waves and brought Kirsten ashore. The other children clapped and cheered at the heroine Alice.

They all asked for forgiveness and promised never ever to make her feel an outcast again. Alice was now the heroine of the day.

Two months later Alice was voted the most popular girl at school, and Alice was never treated an outcast again.