LISTEN | National Book Week offers readers a 'passport to tomorrow'

10 September 2020 - 17:44
By Amina Deka Asma
National Book Week aims to cultivate a culture of reading in SA.
Image: 123RF National Book Week aims to cultivate a culture of reading in SA.

September 7-13 marks the annual National Book Week, headed by the South African Book Development Council in partnership with the department of sport, arts and culture, which are working to raise reading awareness under this year's theme “passport to tomorrow”.

According to the council, this theme is “fit-for-purpose” for the next decade, as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic towards the promise of a better tomorrow.

This year's National Book Week ambassador Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane explained that the week is a time when the culture of reading is celebrated.

“It's about a celebration of books and reading. The whole idea is to create and cultivate a culture of reading in SA, as well as to ensure that people of all ages are reading. In essence, 'passport to tomorrow' is the idea of being able to transport yourself to new worlds using books,” he said.

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Dudu Makhari, founder of non-governmental organisation 18 Area which operates within the arts, education and sports sector, shared some of the work that her organisation has been doing.

National Book Week 2020, September 7-13.
Image: sourced National Book Week 2020, September 7-13.

“During the lockdown, ourselves and the Boswa Foundation founded the #NoChildLeftBehindFund campaign,  targeted at foundation phase learners from under-resourced communities who didn't have access to digital resources,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that they to continue their learning journey during lockdown.” 

In a short message, minister of sports, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa said: “As we celebrate National Book Week, let us reflect on research which was conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on education and reading, which revealed that reading books for leisure is the single most important indicator of a teenager's future success.

“Therefore it is critical for us to make reading cool among young South Africans, to ensure that the ground is fertile for future generations to embrace a culture of reading.”