Members of the Unit are involved in teaching children’s literature at graduate and postgraduate levels in the Department of Information of the University of South Africa. The teaching programmes are offered by means of distance teaching.
The Unit conducts research on an ongoing basis about children’s literature, reading and literacy. We also take part in and contribute to research projects with other institutions.
The unit disseminates research findings and supports the University of South Africa’s community involvement by organising conferences, seminars, exhibitions and community service projects.
The Unit is involved in the promotion of South African children’s literature locally and abroad by organising exhibitions, publications and lectures and introducing it to to publishers and other people working in the field of children’s literature.
A library and archives collection of children’s literature is being developed for use by students and researchers. One of the largest collections of foreign children’s books in the country is developed and maintained for comparative studies.
The Children’s Literature Research Unit (CLRU) in conjunction with the South African Embassy to Rwanda recently organised and hosted an Exhibition of South African Children’s Books and the Global Twins Children’s Cultural Project in Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda is the second country on the continent where the CLRU has been involved with this project after the Cameroon in 2005. The purpose of this project is to foster co-operation between primary schools in South Africa and Rwanda as part of the Global Twins project that entails the twinning of schools throughout the world.
Children from nine primary schools in Kigali visited the exhibition of South African children’s books in all 11 official languages of South Africa, including a special collection on the Freedom Fighters. A short film on South Africa and a power-point discussion on the South African history and natural and cultural heritage were followed by informal talks with the teachers and children about the relationship between the two countries.
The children then had the opportunity to write or draw something about their country for South African counterparts. The project forms part of the “People to people project” initiated by the South African Embassy in Kigali. The CLRU was keen to be involved as it has been trying for quite a while to expand its activities into other countries in Africa.
The visit was most successful and will hopefully be the first step in fostering cultural relations and educational relations within the wider context on school level between Rwanda and South Africa.