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Newsletter #7 18 September 2015
National Book Week 2015 a reading success

The longest running and most successful national reading campaign came to an end this past weekend and what a great success it has been. The media coverage has been simply trailblazing with NBW 2015 breaking all previous records in terms of media coverage. The campaign has been featured in every major national publication, TV and radio station.

At the launch on Thursday the 3rd of September, Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi emphasized the importance of reading in order to achieve success in life and build a nation in social cohesion. The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) continues to strengthen their support to the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and NBW specifically as they instill a culture of reading, with a strong focus on promoting indigenous languages, local authors as well as library awareness and access.


The first stop of this week-long adventure was Heidelberg Library, where children from Lethabo Primary School and Kgoroyathuto High School gathered for some fun, games, music and inspiration.

“Events like these are important to try conscientise the kids into reading for pleasure, and reading beyond the bare minimum to pass,” said grade 10 teacher Zaira Solomons from Kgoroyathuto about National Book Week 2015.


On the second day of the tour, the NBW bus stopped in at Boksburg Correctional Services. The NBW tour coincided with an inmates’ book clubs’ regional competition (Funda Mzantsi), the winner of which will compete in a national competition later in the year. Fezile Sipamla, National Director for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture at Correctional Services, said the competition is a social calendar highlight for those involved in correctional facilities reading programmes. “All 243 correctional facilities in the country have libraries on site, and for this competition they read and tell stories in whichever official language they choose. Access to a library is regarded as a basic need, and about 70% of offenders regularly make use of it.”

The NBW bus then made a pit stop at the Water Sisulu Child and Youth Care Centre, a place of safety for children in Noordgesig, Soweto. The group was elated when the shelves in their small library were filled with donated books, thanks to the #BUYABOOK campaign. About 30 teenagers took part in the programme which included storytelling, poetry led by Nancy G and CEO Hitman, Nal’iBali performers and FunDza activities.


The NBW bus arrived in Limpopo on day three where the ambassadors visited Megoring Primary School and Melapo Library. The guests, including the Honourable Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms. Rejoice Mabudafhasi and NBW ambassador Aaron Moloisi, were greeted with a guard of honour by the school’s drum majorettes. Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi reciprocated the love when she facilitated a book give-away in the spirit of #BUYABOOK for the school’s new library, in conjunction with the local municipality.

The bus then moved to Molepo Library, about an hour's drive from the city, which opened in February 2014. Molepo librarian Tshidi Tjale and Maurdy Dunster, Outreach Librarian at Polokwane City Library, were on hand to welcome the guests. Tjale said learners from the nearby primary and high schools are frequent visitors, crediting the variety of books and computer lab for being a drawcard. The NBW mascot Funda Bala also came out to play. Other primary school learners enjoyed playing with equipment from the toy libraries, storytelling with Moloisi, as well as hip hop and poetry sessions with Nancy G and CEO Hitman and Nal’ibali ran their competition ‘Story Bosso’. Project Literacy were also there to teach caregivers how to read to young children.

Ladysmith and Buffalo City

Day four of the National Book Week tour was a cross-generation marvel in the warm heart of the KwaZulu-Natal province. Scores of people made up of everyone from crèche-age children to gogos came out to greet the NBW bus when it pulled up at the Indoor Sports Stadium in Emnambithi Municipality.

Emnambithi’s chief librarian Sandhya Maharaj said the event was about fostering a sense of empowerment. “We want to inculcate the culture of reading amongst our youth and adults,” she said. The Mayor for Ladysmith/Emnambithi Municipality, Mayiboyi Vincent Madlala said the municipality’s involvement was motivated by a need to highlight the importance of education, with reading being key.

CEO Hitman lived up to his name, and had his audience singing along during his poetry session, with many of them staying for a chat afterwards. The gogos also got their fair share of fun while exercising their minds with the word game Wordathon. Needless to say, they were as sharp as ever because, as any grandchild will tell you, granny always knows best.

King Williamstown

Friday saw the perfect ending to a busy but fun week of criss-crossing the country for those aboard the NBW Tour Bus. The last stop was in King Williamstown at the Steve Biko Centre.

Seeing the enraptured faces of the Grade 3-5 learners from St Thomas School for the Deaf as they enjoyed the Wordathon was a sight to behold. As children who rely on the written word and sign language to communicate, their enthusiasm was especially touching to witness. And they made sure to share their passion by victoriously running up to the nearest adult every time they got a word right.

Another group that had a great time were Grade 11s from Matsa High School. “Learners don’t generally read for leisure because they lack access. Our school is in a rural area and the nearest libraries are in town, which is too far for them. I’m glad that they have the opportunity to take part in the NBW programme. It’s very rare and they look motivated by all that they have done today,” Sipho Mfiki from Matsa High School said.

NBW message touches the nation

Through an intensive media campaign, the NBW 2015 promotion has highlighted the importance of the book in South Africa’s development and reached out to the public through the #BUYABOOK campaign. SABDC CEO Elitha van der Sandt has been reaching out to all members of the public through numerous radio and television interviews with the SABC newsroom, Sunrise, Morning Live and more, to engage in the #BUYABOOK campaign.

Support the #BuyABook Campaign

With the #BUYABOOK campaign you have the opportunity to make a difference with a mere R20. Selected titles will be available for only R20 at Bargain Books and Exclusive Books until 20 September while stocks last. You can drop them in the bins in store or share it with someone in your life that doesn’t have a book.

Initiative of the SABDC

Be part of the discussion. Use our hashtags #GOINGPLACES and #BUYABOOK on Twitter.


Funda Bala

Funda Bala means ‘Read Read’ across the Nguni and Sotho languages. It is the official National Book Week mascot, traveling far and wide, helping more people own their own book. Funda Bala donates new books to those who do not own leisure reading books.

Thank you

For National Book Week Programme related information, please contact: The South African Book Development Council (SABDC):

021 91​4 8​626

For media related information and images, please contact:

On-Point PR: Vista Kalipa

011 48​2 61​55 / 076 0​47 13​55

Nicole Ogle:

072 33​6 2​739
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© 2015 South African Book Development Council