Ezile joined Axium as a community reader in 2014. He is a valued and committed part of the team who is on the front lines in junior schools every day of the week. The community readers (Nobalisas) are responsible for igniting the love of story telling in both children and in the minds of parents. Their interactive lessons encourage quality positive engagement with both Xhosa and English education.
This week we interviewed Ezile about his experience so far!
Hi Ezile, so what do you do for Axium?
In Axium, my role is to be a Nobalisa. It is a challenging job but I like it. As a Nobalisa I teach children to speak, read and write by telling stories. We also sing songs and play games to help open up children’s minds to learning in a way that they enjoy. Our stories, games, and songs teach a mix of Xhosa and English to the children.
How did you end up as a Nobalisa?
To be honest, I had never thought I would be a Nobalisa. I met with one of my friends called Zonke Banjwa, and she asked me what I was doing for a living and I replied that I was not doing anything. She told me that there was a post available at Axium as a Community Reader. She showed me the poster which said that they needed someone with patience who was able to teach and tell stories to small children from 5-10 years. Once I read it I did not delay. I applied for the job, after three days I had an interview, then later I had a phone call telling me when I should come to training.
I was excited about the job because I like to teach and tell children stories. I used to help my sister with her children so I have experience with this already.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Nobalisa?
I enjoy being a Nobalisa because the children we are working with are engaged and are not just keeping quiet. They are always active and hungry to learn something new. In some schools we put up a tent so that many children can come to us to hear stories and sing songs. Even when there are many of them they pay attention and listen.
Also, I can say that I enjoy working with my Nobalisa team. We like to work together and the team is very supportive and strong. When I started as a Nobalisa in 2014, the experienced Nobalisas at Axium supported me and showed me the best way to do things. They didn’t mind when I asked lots of questions!
As a team, we speak very openly with each other if we think there is a problem or something that we can improve.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of being a Nobalisa is when you find children who are very distracted in school and who believe that learning is not important because that is what they have been told. It is hard to see because I know how important it is for them.
What do you like to do when you’re not telling stories?
I like to play football with my friends, and play matches on the weekend. I like to spend time with my friends and to be a part of their situations. I also motivate those I know who have stopped schooling because without school there is not much opportunity for work.
Do you think you’ve changed in any way since becoming a Nobalisa?
I was always good at telling stories, I have always being doing this. I grew up with stories; my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather were telling stories as I grew up.
I can say that I have changed though. I think of others more and more since I have been working as a community reader and spend time each day with students and teachers in this area.