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Award-winning Takalani Sesame Returns with Five New Years of Content To Boost Early Learning and Development in South Africa

Johannesburg, August 27, 2013 – Efforts to improve early learning and development in South Africa will receive a significant boost following the announcement that 5 years of brand new television, radio, digital and mobile content of the award-winning children’s programme, Takalani Sesame, will debut on September 02, 2013. The series will air every weekday on SABC 1 at 7:30am and SABC 2 at 10am.

The brand new television and radio seasons as well as the digital and mobile content are brought to viewers in a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street,  Department of Basic Education (DBE), Sanlam, SABC and production partner Kwasukasukela (KWK). The fresh content will build on Takalani Sesame’s 12 years of delighting and engaging children with the help of friends like Kami, Zikwe, Zuzu, and Neno, through covering educational domains of literacy and languages, mathematics, and life-skills.

The broadcast content will be complemented by a groundbreaking outreach programme which is funded by the Mai Family Foundation and tailored to the education needs of communities in the Eastern Cape Province.

“For twelve years, all the friends of Takalani Sesame have been educating and engaging children in South Africa, and we are thrilled to bring families more of what they love with these new seasons,” says H. Melvin Ming, CEO and President, Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Workshop is proud to work with all our partners to create and distribute content that not only introduces children to letters and numbers, but will prepare them with fundamental skills to put them on a trajectory for a lifetime of learning.”

The new format will also see the Takalani Sesame Muppet friends featured in segments that highlight their unique personalities; Zikwe loves to travel, Neno has extraordinary language skills, and Kami, an HIV positive 5-year-old golden furry monster who loves science and reading, returns and helps illuminate age-appropriate messages designed to de-stigmatise perceptions surrounding people living with the virus. Kami’s interest in science will also encourage creativity and experimentation.

Each episode will be centered around one vocabulary word in a brand new segment called “Word on the Street.” Words like ‘Amazing,’ ‘Gigantic,’ and ‘Quest,’ serve as an overarching theme for each new episode in addition to exposing children to each vocabulary word in 5 different languages. New seasons will continue to support South Africa’s mother-tongue-based education policy and priorities which include social inclusion of children with disabilities, critical thinking and problem solving.

Research indicates that nearly 2/3 of all South African children have interacted with Takalani Sesame[1]. Approximately 91% of households report awareness of the brand giving Takalani Sesame the distinction of having the highest household awareness of all key competitive shows.1

Takalani Sesame supports the aims of the national curriculum and in so doing, assists us in advancing towards our national educational goals for the early childhood sector. The Department of Education (DBE) is proud to be one of the founding partners in this groundbreaking initiative that has, for the past twelve years, served the children of South Africa in supporting their learning in literacy, numeracy and life skills,” says Marie Louise Samuels, Director of Early Childhood Development at the Department of Basic Education.

Johan van Zyl, CEO, Sanlam says “We are excited to extend our 12-year relationship with Sesame Workshop for another five years. We believe by investing in education, we actively contribute to the socio-economic development of South African children. In extending our existing partnership with this initiative, we are acknowledging the powerful contribution it has made to literacy, numeracy and life skills education in South Africa.  We continue to invest in early childhood education as this seeks to address one of the aims of the National Development Plan.”

Pontsho Makhetha, GM of TV Content at SABC adds that, “SABC CHILDREN is delighted to continue the groundbreaking Takalani Sesame partnership. South Africa’s children will once again enjoy programming that is fun, entertaining and educational. They will play and learn with their favourite buddies: Neno, Moshe, Kamo, Zikwe, Zuzu and the all their friends from the BEST street in South Africa!”

Takalani,” which means “be happy” in TshiVenda, conveys the spirit of happiness and innocence.  Children across South Africa can look forward to engaging their friends while learning valuable lessons.

For more media information contact:

Yasmeen Engelbrecht
[076 843 3146]
South Africa Project Director, Sesame Workshop, South Africa

Philip Toscano
Director, Corporate Communications, Sesame Workshop, New York

Note to editors

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organisation that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 150 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and resilience. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at

About Takalani Sesame outreach programmes

Throughout South Africa Takalani Sesame’s outreach teams have trained over 41,500 caregivers and 100 teachers, and have carried out numerous community events designed to engage children with educationally rich experiences.

1. 2012 Sesame Street Multi Country Reach Study – Takalani Sesame in South Africa – K0-7
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