Skip to main content

Save the Children announces new ambassadors to further literacy in South Africa

Friday 8 September 2017

Save the Children South Africa is proud to announce Stacey Fru and Given Mpho Mabena as our new ambassadors. 

Both Stacey and Given were chosen for their outstanding contribution to literacy in South Africa. The announcement comes during literacy week and at a time when literacy in South Africa is critically low.

At just 10 years old Stacey, is South Africa’s youngest published author, having written two books. Stacey wrote her first book ‘Smelly Cats’ without her parents’ knowledge when she was 7 and it was published when she was 8. By the time her second book ‘Bob and the Snake’ was published, 9 year old Stacey was three times (multiple) Award Winner! ‘Smelly Cats’ is the 2016 NDA ‘Best ECD Publication 2015: Special Mention Category’, prize donated by UNICEF. Stacey won two awards ‘Young Leader 2016’ for her leading motivational and inspirational roles, and ‘Academic Achievements and Initiatives 2016’ for her writings at the East Wave Radio Nelson Mandela International Community Day Leadership Award.

 “It is a great honour to be named as an ambassador for Save the Children. I would like to thank Sis Gugu and everyone at Save the Children for this opportunity. As an ambassador I want to encourage as many children as I can to read and to take up writing as a way to express themselves,” said Stacey.

Founder of the Afro Tenors, Joyous Celebration member and owner of Givy's Designer events, Given is a multi-talented and well-respected South African celebrity. In addition to his various successful ventures, Given was recently announced as a literacy ambassador by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, alongside Save the Children CEO, Gugu Ndebele.

“Both Stacey and Given are exemplary examples of what passion and skill can produce. They both have a hunger to see children thrive and to ensure every last child accesses their right to quality education. Which is why bringing them on board as ambassadors was a no-brainer,” said Gugu. 

She added, “the power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s ability to use these skills to connect with others and with the world in which they live. Literacy is the foundation for later learning therefore, it is imperative that we afford every child the opportunity to expand their imaginations and their world by accessing their right to an education”.

According to research released in 2016, 58% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning, while 29% are completely illiterate. This confirms research findings gathered by NEEDU in 2013, which show that of 1,772 rural Grade 5 learners, 41% read so slowly that they were considered non-readers in English, while 11% could not read a single English word from the passage used to assess their reading fluency. 

Quality basic education is every child’s right in South Africa. It’s not always guaranteed to the most marginalised child, but we are aiming to change that. Most of our direct impact with children is through our education programme, reaching 42,107 children in the past year.

Over the past year, Save the Children has improved education in South Africa by implementing our pioneering Literacy Boost programme in 77 schools in the Free State and Mpumalanga. Our young learners showed much improvement in their reading and writing, so much so that the Free State Department of Education will partner with us to implement Literacy Boost across the Free State province.


For more information: Lois Moodley on 0724401519 or [email protected]

About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. 

Note to the Editor: If children are affected, we’ve got something to say. Our team of experts are available for comments, interviews and information.