top of page
Phendulani Logo.png


The Phendulani Literacy quiz was founded in 2008 by high school teacher Marj Brown, who felt literacy was key to proficiency in all subjects, as well as important for the psycho-social wellbeing of the individual. Marj is the coordinator of Kids Lit Quiz in SA (a global quiz based on 2000 years of literature, and thus dependant on well-resourced school libraries, who decided to twin well- resourced schools with under- resourced schools so that the pupils of the latter schools could also benefit from the fun of a literary competition and to spread the access to books through building partnerships.

Phendulani Literacy Quiz’s main objectives are to provide educational services, by promoting reading among young South Africans as a key contribution to their personal, intellectual and social development. It is primarily to enhance literacy and the joy of reading. To achieve this aim, the organisation arranges an annual quiz for primary school learners, in which teams from different schools can compete against each other. This allows learners and coaches to have a measurable against which to compare previous achievements.

The organisation’s secondary objective is to work with publishing and educational organisations to foster the love of reading and help make books more readily available to children across South Africa. It is a long- term aim to encourage all primary schools in SA to join the quiz, as a means of enhancing reading, and measuring literacy.

Phendulani Quiz is a voluntary organisation committed to promoting reading and literacy among young people in South Africa.

Needs & problems

Much has been written about the lack of basic literacy in South Africa and its broader link to a scholar’s performance all subjects.

South Africa is a country where there are many children who do not have access to well stocked libraries and therefore are denied the experience of the joy of reading and access to literature that takes the individual beyond their own environment, increases the individual’s comprehension skills, provides knowledge of the world, stimulates imagination and enhances his/her vocabulary.

Goals & objectives

The Phendulani Quiz was started to combine the annual distribution of about twenty fiction books into under-resourced primary schools with the fun of a quiz, as an incentive for children to read the books and thus contribute to promoting literacy in SA schools.

A secondary objective was to twin good readers from well-resourced schools with under-resourced schools, so that the importance of reading is spread.

Our Mission

How it Works

For Phendulani, each school sets up a team of 6 readers from grade 6 and 7. Schools can have 2 teams if they wish. If the teams are 6 strong, and there are 4-5 themes of questions, this means 30 books are needed for prizes per region, plus 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. Readers work as a team and answer the questions on a sheet. After each theme, the answers are marked and the team that scored the highest marks in that theme gets a prize of 6 books. The next theme’s questions are then answered. If the same team gets the highest marks, then the team with the second highest marks gets the prize, so that the prizes are shared out as much as possible.

A mixture of books from SA and overseas authors were chosen from a range of genres as well as reading levels, in order that the team of 6 pupils can be formed from a group of readers with varying reading ability. This is to avoid exclusion of reluctant or poor readers. The list has included picture books as well as novels and short stories and a poetry book. The idea is to aim at a reading age of 10-12 and an interest age of 12- 13. Sophisticated picture books, comics and graphic novels all assist pupils who are learning to

read in a second language

bottom of page