Cape Town – Once you have access to language, you can expand your knowledge and unlock the key to the universe. The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (Praesa) hopes to give children this key by providing them with educational literature in their home language.
On Wednesday, Praesa delivered 300 copies of George’s Secret Key to the Universe written by Lucy and her father Stephen Hawking, the famed astrophysicist, to keen children at the Molo Mhlaba primary school in Khayelitsha. The book was translated into isiZulu and isiXhosa to stimulate curiosity and interest in science to children in their home language.
The book relays the story of George, who’s taken through the vastness of space by a scientist, his daughter and their supercomputer, Cosmos. Together they fight the forces of evil, using scientific information, facts and theories that they learn along the way.
The book starts by describing black holes, atoms, stars, planets and their moons and covers the foundations of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and other principles that govern the universe.
Praesa member Nadia Lubowski said there were 11 official languages in South Africa, but many children were not able to read to comprehend in their own mother tongue.
She said the organisation wanted to bring bilingualism into schools through the book, and other online resources, because there was no printed material available for pupils in their mother tongue.