The 7th annual National Book Week kicked off at the Apartheid Museum with a keynote address by the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Ms. Faith Mazibuko, who spoke on the importance of reading to build future leaders of our country.
National Book Week (NBW), which runs from the 05th -11th September 2016, is a strategic national campaign brought to you by the South African Book Development Council, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture. NBW, envisioning a reading South Africa, provides an overarching platform to get the nation reading and will be celebrated across all nine provinces of South Africa.
The 2016 launch of National Book Week presented a very contentious question: Are Books Expensive, to which 70% of about 80 guests responded YES and 30% said NO.
An illustrious panel of speakers, comprising of key stakeholders in the book industry and other interest groups, unpacked the production elements of the book, and the contributing factors to the end price of the book. The importance of the book also came out of the discussions, with MenCare highlighting how the book is used to form a bond between fathers and children.
Says CEO of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), Elitha van der Sandt, “By encouraging people to buy books and more importantly to read local books, particularly amongst our youth, we believe a significant impact can be made in terms of up-skilling our youth and empowering them to achieve higher levels of education. Increasing the number of book buyers and readers also leads to significant increases in economic contribution, and increased demand can have a very positive impact on the cost of a book.
The pages that build us
According to the Ministerial Task Team Report by the Department of Arts and Culture, it is estimated that only 1% of the South African population are book buyers.
A 20-year study across 27 countries reported “having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact in propelling a child to higher levels of education”. Numerous research studies over the years show clearly that good readers with high levels of reading fluency do well in all school subjects.
What is alarming is that more than half of South African homes do not have a single leisure book to read. This is a key motivator for the #BUY_A_BOOK strategy under the National Book Week Campaign.
This year, NBW ambassadors Aaron Moloisi, Refiloe Mpakanyane, Stoan Seate, Azania Mosaka along with the favourite Mascot Funda Bala will join in the line-up of activities and share in the joy of reading. Some of the activities lined up for the week include: Storytelling and a Wordathon, all speaking to this year’s focus: ‘The pages that build us.’
From 01-18 September, the public can support the #BUY_A_BOOK campaign by buying a book for only R20 at either Bargain Books or Exclusive Books and dropping it in the National Book Week donation bins; books can also be purchased on Takealot.com. These books will be donated to key NBW reading initiatives and to those who do not have books in their homes.
“It takes public participation to build a reading nation and we encourage the public to participate,” says van der Sandt.
Concurrently, NBW also motivates the #READ_A_BOOK campaign aimed at getting more South Africans to read books. “The more pages we turn, the more valuable knowledge and insight we gain; insight that we can share with those around us, and insight that can empower us significantly,” explains van der Sandt.
Join Funda Bala in making South Africa a reading nation and share in the joy of reading this National Book Week. Share a book, visit your local library, volunteer in the programme in your province or read to a child. You can also create your own reading activities and let NBW know about it.
#BUY_A_BOOK so that we can get the rest of South Africa to #READ_A_BOOK whose pages can build and edify us as a nation.
From an investment as small as R20, you can make a difference by buying a book for a home that does not have any – or share a book with someone – it only takes one book to change a life. It takes one book to change a life forever.
For more information visit: www.sabookcouncil.co.za or social media: Facebook (NationalBookWeekSA) and Twitter (#BUY_A_BOOK)
To find out more about NBW programmes around the country, visit our Facebook page for regular updates.
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/NationalBookWeekSA
- Twitter: @NBW_SA / #READ_A_BOOK #BUY_A_BOOK