Schoolbooks are the mainstay of many South African illustrators.
This is because there’s such a huge need for children’s educational material.
Story or picture-books designed purely for entertainment, seldom appear. An exception would be ‘readers’ which are basically storybooks for the classroom. Sometimes they’re designed around certain subjects, like Counting Games. So they’re also really schoolbooks.
This comes out in the relentless educating and moralising that happens in stories that are meant to be just for fun… So naturally my main mission is to add the fun, the colour, and where I can, the wit.
There used to be a section on languages, being for Afrikaans and also Portuguese, but since they aren’t much different from those done for the English language, they crop up under Styles and other places.
A devastating blow to everyone involved in the South African publishing industry is looming on the horizon at this time. (Nov 2014) Who knows what will come of it, but I for one am looking to many other avenues of illustration. Drawing for schoolbooks was not the only thing I did, but it was a large part of my work and I loved it.
In the end – schoolbooks are most important in the classroom. And yet, this appeared in the news on the iol.co.za site this morning (11/11/2014):
‘In the recent Basic Education Budget Vote Speech, it was announced that the education budget for 2014/15 would be R254bn. A mere 2 percent (R5.097bn) will be spent on workbooks, textbooks and stationery. The figure ought to be at least 8 percent to ensure that every school has a library; a science laboratory; textbooks; classroom sets of readers; language and maths games; software and digital content from Grades R to 12.’
Most of the money is being spent on staff. And then, in places like Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, the schoolbooks are not even being delivered. Several times, they’ve been found, stacked in big warehouses by the distributors. They were paid but literally, didn’t deliver. The schoolbooks were going to have been pulped.
What I know for sure is that their kids don’t go to those schools.