Walking to freedom with eThekwini’s One City, One Book Project

2013-09-03 00:00

FORMER president Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom has been used to get people to talk to one another on a shared subject, especially those whose lives would not naturally intersect.

For their social cohesion project, the eThekwini metro handed over copies of the autobiography to 11 people, ranging from businesspeople to celebrities and pupils.

And late yesterday afternoon they were expected to have their first discussion on the book, sharing their thoughts and their different perspectives. And then they all have to sit for a quiz on the book.

For the launch, the group, which includes singer Zakes Bantwini, Durban socialite and businessman Vivian Reddy, Ukhozi FM station manager Bonga Ntanzi, and pupils Ntabeleng Nkentsa and Ridwa Hajee, were given certain chapters to read.

The One city, One Book Project is the brainchild of the city’s parks and recreation department. It is regarded as an important move to help citizens foster tolerance of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in the city.

About R2 million has been set aside for the project, which will roll out to the rest of the city in the next few months through various activities.

Department head Thembinkosi Ngcobo said it was through sheer coincidence that they chose Mandela’s book to connect people during Heritage Month, but it turned out to be very apt.

He said it was worrying that after 20 years of democracy, people in the city often still found it difficult to socialise.

“We are of the view that when people read similar books, we will be able to bridge the gap created by apartheid. People should be able to read and be critical in their thinking. We want people to integrate, and reading would free their minds. Our mission is also to enhance the one nation, one city concept and affirm diversity,” he said.

One of the activities planned to promote the project is the Long Walk to Freedom over 25 km, a book relay race from Newlands East, to Pafaro Park, KwaMashu, Phoenix and end at Saunders Park in Umhlanga. Participants will pass on a copy of the book to the next runner at one- kilometre intervals

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