2015-11-30 11:06

Dash off a book for a good cause

“We believe every child should own 100 books by the age of five. In South Africa, that means giving 600 million free books to children who could never afford to buy them,” says Book Dash on its website.

Book Dash asks professional writers to team up with professional illustrators to generate new kids’ books.

Anyone can then download for free, translate, print and distribute the books, available on the website, under a Creative Commons licence.

There are loads of books, with titles like Searching for the Spirit of Spring by Mosa Mahlaba, Grandpa’s Gold by Kerry Saadien-Raad, Amazing Daisy by Nozizwe Herero, and Zanele Situ: My Story by Liz Sparg.

After this week, Book Dash will print 45 000 more books to distribute. That’s because local novelist Lauren Beukes chose Book Dash as her charity of choice for the fundraising art auction she holds for each of her new internationally acclaimed books. She invited local artists to create work themed around her novel Broken Monsters and these were sold for R1 500 each at Nando’s Broken Monsters Charity Art Show in Cape Town and Joburg. Charl Blignaut

Palestinian poet sentenced to death

Major international cultural groups and human rights organisations have signed a joint statement this week condemning the impending execution of Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh in Saudi Arabia after he had been jailed for more than 22 months in Abha, Saudi Arabia.

Fayadh, who has denied all charges against him, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes for apostasy – defined in Islam as the conscious abandonment of Islam by a Muslim in word or through deed – but this week the sentence was escalated to death. The charges originally came about after a Saudi man complained about the author’s work being “misguided and misguiding thoughts”.

British artist Peter Kennard told The Guardian newspaper this week: “Saudi Arabia wants to silence a great humanitarian poet and cultural organiser. We cultural workers must do all in our power in campaigning to free him. We must also demand that David Cameron takes time off from selling the Saudi regime fighter planes to state his abhorrence at the death sentence meted out to a poet.” Garreth van Niekerk

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