Good News

Media statement

8 September 2016


The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is proud to announce that it has been awarded a UNESCO International Literacy Award.  The 2016 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy is for the Department’s Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign and will be handed over at a ceremony to be held in Paris on Thursday, 8 September 2016.

The Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign was launched in 2008 to fulfil the ambitions of the Freedom Charter. Through the campaign recruits volunteers who make up the thousands of community-based coordinators, supervisors and educators that are engaged to run the literacy courses every year since the inception of the campaign. The volunteers teach at community-based learning centres across the country as well as in informal venues such as backyards, local churches and even bus-shelters.

To date the campaign has touched 4.7 million people across the country and focuses on basic literacy and numeracy skills for people who were never afforded the opportunity to learn to read and write.

The UNESCO Jury appreciated the Kha Ri Gude programme for its well-developed mass literacy campaign that applied scientific research on how illiterate adults read. The panel found it impressive that since its inception in 2008, the programme had taught urban and rural based adults in 11 official languages including Braille and to date it has reached 4.7 million South Africans, mostly women.

Since 1967, UNESCO has awarded International Literacy Prizes to outstanding and innovative programmes that promote literacy, and this year UNESCO awards laureates from around the world under the theme: Innovation in Literacy.

The Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga will be represented by the South African Ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, HE Mr. Rapulane Molekane, who will receive the award on behalf of the Department and the country. 

The Department of Basic Education is proud of all those who have been involved in Kha Ri Gude over the past eight years, and this award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the officials, as well as the volunteers and participants of the Kha Ri Gude mass literacy campaign.



Enquiries:     Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275

Troy Martens – 079 899 3070