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Literacy NGO launches new Puppet Show at libraries in Cape Town

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

In celebration of South African Library Week, literacy NGO READ to RISE launched its new Puppet Show programme on 19 March 2019 at the Mitchells Plain Town Centre Public Library in Cape Town. The puppet show is based on the story OAKY THE HAPPY TREE, which is written by award-winning South African poet Athol Williams and illustrated by Taryn Lock. The story is about an oak tree named Oaky who is questioned by his friends the bird and the zebra, and together they learn about the secret to being happy.

During 2019, READ to RISE will be taking their Oaky puppet show to 25 public libraries around Cape Town, to share the story of Oaky the Happy Tree with children.

A special work of thanks to our sponsors for making this project possible. Thank you to the South African Library and Information Trust (SALI) who sponsored the puppet theatre and 25 Oaky book sets (8 books each) which will be given to 25 public libraries in Cape Town during school holidays in 2019 – so that children can borrow the books and read. Thank you to Athol Williams for sponsoring the puppets and staff/transport costs.

The latest PIRLS survey revealed that 78% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa are functionally illiterate. READ to RISE is a non-profit organisation, founded in 2013, that promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities in South Africa. The organisation hopes to get children excited about reading through fun, interactive programmes and gives children a new book to take home. Since its founding in September 2013, to date READ to RISE has conducted programmes in over 2,900 classes at 95 primary schools – over 74,000 children have benefited from the programmes. A total of over 147,000 new story books have been given out.

READ to RISE will be offering the Oaky the Happy Tree puppet show to schools and other groups in Cape Town for a minimal fee. The NGO relies on sponsorships from individuals/corporates to conduct their programmes. They work with 45 primary schools in Mitchells Plain (Cape Town) and 30 in Soweto (JHB). For more information or if you would like to assist READ to RISE in promoting youth literacy or would like to book a puppet show, please visit or email

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