IBBY SA came into being in July 2005 and is an offshoot of the South African Children’s Book Forum (SACBF) established in 1988. The SACBF was admitted as a National Section of IBBY in 1992.

The primary goal of IBBY SA is to promote South African children’s literature at home and abroad. IBBY SA nominates South African books, writers and illustrators to IBBY’s international awards, including the Honours List for the IBBY World Congress and the Hans Christian Anderson and Astrid Lindgren Awards. The Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award is given to the writer and the illustrator of the best children’s picture book or illustrated children’s book projects including those aimed at literacy, libraries and the promotion of South African books for children and young people.  We are responsible for the selection of exemplary books and the nomination of talented South African writers and illustrators for several local and international awards.

Through our quarterly BOOKBASH events we provide the space for writers, publishers, librarians, teachers, illustrators and translators to come together for discussion and debate. Our newsletter showcases the latest noteworthy South African children's books and offers opinions on the children's literary landscape.

With our partner Biblionef SA, we provide children throughout South Africa with quality books in their mother tongues. This Schools Programme sets up libraries and reading programmes in at least 15 schools each year.