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Brief Published: 16 Jul 2021

Cadbury Launches Literacy Campaign in South Africa

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Today’s consumer cares about a brand’s social responsibilities – and the chocolate category is no exception, as we explored in the 2021 Chocolate Sector Outlook. Mondelez-owned confectionery brand Cadbury has launched a literacy campaign in South Africa to invigorate chocolate as a tool for social and educational change.

Only 2% of children’s books published commercially in South Africa are in local African languages, according to a 2016 survey by the Publishers Association SA. Cadbury’s In Our Own Words campaign aims to change this statistic.

Cadbury has partnered with children’s literacy initiative Nal’ibali with the goal of crafting 1,500 children’s books by 2023. By going on the In Our Own Words website, visitors can translate individual English words into one of the 11 South African languages. In this way, Cadbury hopes to demonstrate how “even the smallest generous act can make a large impact.” Nal’ibali’s team of young local authors will create stories from the translated words.

Cadbury’s campaign comes at a time when inclusivity in the food industry and media is being demanded more than ever, as explored in Diversifying Food Narratives. “When children read stories by South Africans – or Africans – about areas they know and people they relate to, they feel seen … That’s why I believe this partnership with Cadbury is so powerful,” Yandiswa Xhakaza, chief executive of Nal’ibali, said.

According to Cadbury’s website, the company is rooted in generosity. Our Own Words launched with Mrs. Mabena, a minute-long video campaign. It follows a woman, Mrs Mabena, looking after a young boy, Sifiso. When his mother returns, she tries to pay Mrs Mabena, who refuses. Upon witnessing this, Sifiso returns Mrs Mabena’s act of generosity by slipping a Cadbury bar into her bag. 

See Inclusive Picture Books for Diverse Young Adventurers for more on the importance of representation and diversity in today’s children’s literature.