National Book Week (NBW), South Africa’s reading awareness week dedicated to encouraging reading and promoting books, marks a decade of influence in 2019 on SA’s reading culture. You all know how much Mbusi and I love to read, so it was a no brainer getting involved in driving awareness for this awesome campaign. It is celebrated during the first week in September every year and is driven by the Department of Arts and Culture and the South African Book Development Council (SABDC).
This year, the campaign will run from 02 to 08 September and will be celebrated in all nine provinces. The celebration also coincides with the International Literacy Day on 08 September.
A 2010 study that looked into the reading habits of adult South Africans revealed that just 14% of South Africans actively read, while an alarming 58% of households did not have a single leisure book at home. Some parents hardly ever read to their little ones, less than 5% actually, which has multiple benefits such as stimulating their imagination and build their vocabulary, as I shared in my previous blog post here.
“The lack of reading interest in our country needs our collective awakening, each one of usElitha van der Sandt, CEO SABDC
must take responsibility to encourage people to read,”
We encourage all corporates, leaders across political lines, parents, teachers, community members, brothers and sisters to celebrate stories, reading and books. It is a human right, and an inexpensive way to transform and move our country forward.”
The 2019 National Book Week celebration includes 10 indigenous language reading festivals in remote communities across SA to mark Unesco’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. The official mascot Funda Bala, which means ‘read, read’ in Nguni and Sotho, also makes an appearance on the day. I love this because my mom used to read to us in Setswana (Our favourite book growing up was “E seng ka bonako jalo Songololo” by Niki Daly) and now we read to Mbusi in both IsiZulu and Setswana, although my pronunciation is a little broken at times lol.
“Buy a book” Campaign
One of the centrepieces of the NBW is the #buyabook campaign which the SABDC runs with Exclusive Books and Bargain Books. The public is encouraged to #buyabook from the select list of titles which also includes books in indigenous languages which participating retailers and partners make available for just R20. The books can be donated at the till and a team ensures they are made available to children across all provinces. Now that just warms my heart!
“We want all South Africans to play their part to energise this campaign and more so, our media influencers in society and social media who can mobilise our children, youth and adults to find pleasure from the pages of a book,” says van der Sandt.
If there was ever a good cause to support, it would be this one. I’ll be fetching Mbusi early from school today so he can choose the books he’d like to donate for #buyabook, and a new book for him for the month. Please tag me and @NationalBookWeek on Instagram in the pictures of the books you get for your little ones so we can see what our fellow readers are loving this month. Happy reading!