Teacher from South Africa Inspires Colorado Teachers


Colorado teachers were lucky recently to hear a presentation by Xolisa Guzula, a teacher from Cape Town South Africa.

Colorado teachers were lucky recently to hear a presentation by Xolisa Guzula, a teacher from Cape Town South Africa. Guzula’s job is to find books in the United States that she likes and work with a publisher to translate them into her language.


This was her third time coming to the United States for the Colorado Chapter of the International Reading Association's conference. Over the past several years she has worked very hard with many organizations to get books donated to schools that have very little money. She was proud to inform Colorado teachers that recently two organizations: The Fundza Literacy Trust and BiblionefSA donated over $450,000 of books to 11 different schools.


By getting these books, she hopes the children of Africa will develop a love for reading with a positive attitude. Once these books are published in the 11 different languages of South Africa, she trains other teachers how to incorporate the books into their classrooms.


Guzula calls the teachers who work with youth in reading and writing “Abakhwezeli”. When asked what she liked most about working with the Abakhwezeli she said, “I love to motivate and inspire those who are passionate to do a great job.” In her language, IsiXhosa, there is a word that means to Ignite the Fire in teachers and it is Pimba Fuh.


Another exciting thing she was proud to share that Colorado teachers could use in their classrooms is a website where kids from South Africa can publish their own stories. The website, www.Africanstoriesprogram.com would allow Coloradans a way to read African stories. Right now students in Africa can only publish their work.  They do not have the priviledge of seeing their published writing in a technological form.  Due to the lack of money, there is absolutely no access to e-readers. She hopes kids will eventually have access to this technology.


Lack of technology doesn’t stop Guzula and her students. For now students and teachers are creative by acting out stories, creating their own dolls and much more. The book, A Song for Jamela, by Niki Daly is a book in both English and IsiXhosa that students love. After reading the book they often create their own songs with crafted instruments.


Colorado teachers loved listening to the similar ways all students are inspired to read. Guzula ended her conference by saying, “It’s not just about reading. It’s what you can have your students do with a book to make it come ali