Jewish community embraces inclusive children’s book

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Marlene le Roux
Marlene le Roux, CEO of the Artscape Theatre and disability and women’s rights activist, tells pupils more about Fatima’s story.

School groups visiting the Jewish Museum in 2020 will receive Fatima, a lauded diversity and language-inclusive children’s book, and a box of crayons each.

Gardens, Cape Town, Friday 28 February— The Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape SAJBD) is proud to have made a connection between the author and distributers of the children’s book Fatima and the Jewish Museum. The collaborative effort has resulted in a generous donation of 1,000 Fatima books from Die Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans to the Jewish Museum. These books will be distributed to school groups visiting the museum in 2020, along with a pack of crayons each.

Fatima, written by Klavs Skovsholm who attended the handover at the museum on Thursday 27 February, is a beautifully illustrated colouring book that tells the story of a young, disabled Muslim girl who lives in the Bo-Kaap. Each book tells her story in both Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Khoekhoegowab, English and Arabic, signified by different coloured pages.

At the Jewish Museum, director Gavin Morris’ team takes school groups on museum tours, detailing Jewish life and promoting peace, power in diversity, interfaith cooperation and a love for heritage. It seems a natural extension of its work to make a book available to children that tells a relatable, local story in multiple languages and from a different faith lens, promoting interfaith harmony.

Thursday’s handover was also attended by Artscape CEO and disability and women’s rights activist Marlene le Roux, who related to the pupils of Perivale Primary School her own experience of disability as a woman of colour in South Africa. She encouraged the children to learn as many languages as they can. By a show of hands, the majority of the pupils attending speak Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa to lesser or greater extents.

Klaus Skovsholm encouraged the children to read the book in the language they’re most comfortable with first, and then challenge themselves to read it in languages less familiar.

Cape SAJBD’s Gwynne Robins handed a copy of her book, In Sacred Memory, over to SBA representatives as a show of thanks. 

The Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape SAJBD) is a forward-thinking Jewish organisation that seeks to inform and empower local communities, and connect Jewish identity to projects and activities that effect positive change in the Western Cape.

If you would like more information about this statement or other Cape SAJBD positions, please call Mathilde at 021 464 6700 or email mathilde@ctjc.co.za.

Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website: www.capesajbd.org

To read or download the full March issue PDF of the Chronicle, click here

To read the Editor’s column for March, click here

To read the most read article of the February issue, click here

Portal to the Jewish Community: to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites, click here

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