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In a country with 11 official languages, mother tongue books are not always easily available, and most children’s books lack cultural context. Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to bring you stories that speak about who we are.

Education psychologist Seago Maapola says it’s critical that children are exposed to literature that includes diverse ethnicity as “this positively impacts a child’s self-image and develops pride in who they are and where they are from”.

As a proudly South African restaurant with a keen interest in education, Wimpy has renewed its partnership with online children’s bookstore Ethnikids to make African folktales accessible to children in their home language for a second year.

“Children are close to our hearts and core to our offering. Our collaboration with Ethnikids enables us to bring real South African stories to children in a fun and engaging way,” says Jodi Law, brand manager at Wimpy.

How to engage readers in their home language

Wimpy commissioned Ethnikids to develop a multilingual, multicultural folktale collection that allows children to engage with diverse and relatable characters.

Stories that speak about who we are play an important role in representation, explains Maapola. Without diversity, children are “exposed to a single narrative based on stereotypes,” he says. “This leads to them experiencing negative psychological outcomes and often feeling as if they are not good enough.”

For more about the importance of reading aloud to your child

More about the campaign

English versions of the book are available with every Kids’ Combo meal at Wimpy restaurants nationwide. Online versions of the books are available in all 11 official languages, as well as in Khoe/Nama, the original Bantu language of the Khoisan people that Wimpy advocates on its website to become an official language.

“This year’s campaign includes an interactive online and in-restaurant experience encouraging children to engage with the stories. Children can choose their own ending by scanning a QR code at the back of the books. In this way, they use their own imagination to expand on the narratives,” adds Law.

A second phase of the campaign will enable to children collect 3D cardboard puppets from each of the featured books. These fold-out scenes will include different characters and allow children to use their imagination to re-enact the stories.


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