The Eastern Cape winner of the Nal’ibali annual storytelling contest Story Bosso, 11-year-old Java Hoy Corr, said his entry was a story inspired by the injustice of apartheid.
Java said The Lark was a story that touched on the history of South Africa.
“Aligning with SA’s liberation history, from its dark past to democracy in 1994, the life of The Lark’s lead character follows much the same pattern, and that of the flight pattern of the bird the story is named after: a somewhat slow, sad start or takeoff, followed by the achievement of flight and freedom,” said Java, who is from Cape St Francis.
He is home-schooled and currently in Grade 4 but Java said of all subjects, he liked literature and would like to see himself continue with writing and even pursue it as a career.
“I did not see what the other entries were about so I did not know what I was up against, but I felt good about my story and knew that it would be one that many people could relate to,” he said.
His mother Angela said Java had been fascinated by words and books from an early age.
“I am so proud of him. He put in a lot of effort and dedication to the story and competition.
“There was a lot of writing and rewriting before the submission was made, and it all paid off and he has already spent his prize money on more books,” said Angela.
Nolubabalo Rani, a Cape Town-based storyteller and Story Bosso judge, said the compassionate and passionate story was told in a low tone, yet it was entertaining to listen to.
“Voice variations drive this story and Java has a unique style of storytelling. He also brings meaning to the story towards the end, which makes the story informative and educational.
“This is a great example of how stories can be used in the classroom,” said Rani.
Each year Nal’ibali hosts its month-long Story Bosso drive in September (Literacy Month), to encourage members of the public, young and old, to get storytelling in their home languages.