So it is a pleasure to see the theme for this year's International Literacy Day (ILD; 8 September 2016): "Reading the Past, Writing the Future."
Are there examples of newly literate people in Africa writing in African languages? Yes of course. One is the Senegalese organization Associates in Research and Education for Development (ARED), which has actually published writing by its students. I have also heard of literacy students just writing with this new tool. There are certainly many more.
With the association of literacy with goals of "lifelong learning" - per the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - there should be a way to support and encourage neo-literate writing in first languages on a wider and more systematic basis. Not just for fun, though hopefully at least that, but for adding many diverse voices to writing the future.
Two African organizations were recognized this year with the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy (which along with the King Sejong Literacy Prize are awarded annually on ILD):
- the South African Department of Basic Education’s ‘Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign
- the Direction de l’alphabétisation et des langues nationales in Senegal for its ‘National Education Programme for Illiterate Youth and Adults through ICTs
For a very interesting discussion of ILD from Malawi, see Steve Sharra's blog, Afrika Aphukira: Literacy, Language and Power: Thoughts on International Literacy Day 2016
* "A neo literate is an individual who has completed a basic literacy training programme and has demonstrated the ability and willingness to continue to learn on his or her own using the skills and knowledge attained without the direct guidance of a literacy teacher." APPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 2: Post-Literacy Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 112 p.)