Addressing gender inequalities in South African families through a new picture-book
In celebration of Family Day, the Mikhulu Child Development Trust is launching its new wordless publication – a locally-illustrated wordless picture-book that brings parents and children together around different ways that families organise themselves.
Family Day was re-named (from Easter Monday) under the Mandela administration in 1995. This change reflected the religious diversity of South Africa and sought to afford families a day to spend time together and cherish one another.
It is a fitting day, therefore, to release our new book: Different Families Come Together. Written by Mikhulu Trust, and beautifully illustrated by Neeske Alexander, the book tracks two neighbouring families in South Africa as they go about their daily life. In one family, the mother undertakes all the housework. Next door, the mother, father and children work together on a variety of activities that help them improve their home together. Inspired by her neighbour’s shared division of labour, the first household starts to implement some changes – resulting in a happier, more equal division of household chores across both parents and the children, regardless of their gender.
Addressing gender inequality can start in our own homes, with our own young children. Different Families Come Together encourages adults and children to start conversations around different gender roles within a family.
Book-sharing between an adult and child – in which a wordless picture-book is used to start conversations – has been found to dramatically improve a young child’s cognitive abilities, attention span and vocabulary development. It has also been found as a predictive factor in the lessening of antisocial and violent behaviour later in life.
Early childhood development does not only take place within the walls of a creche, day-care or Grade R class: it starts in our homes. Book-sharing is an easy and affordable way for parents and caregivers to deeply impact the development of their children. Sharing these books does not require the adult to be able to read or speak a specific language. It creates a fun, stimulating and special time between child and adult, deepening the bonds of family.
With books like Different Families Come Together, we aim to not only develop children’s abilities – but to contribute to the future of equal and happy families across South Africa.
Where to read the book
To order paper copies of this book, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the book online and download, click here.
Kaathima Ebrahim is the CEO of The Mikhulu Child Development Trust, a Cape Town based NPO, supporting community-based NPOs to deliver this book-sharing programme to parents and carers of young children. We publish specially-designed, locally-illustrated and affordable wordless picture-books. More information can be found at www.mikhulutrust.org.
CEO, Mikhulu Child Development Trust
Early Learning Centre, Athlone, Cape Town, 7764
Cell: 064 905 7978