How one woman is changing the world one book at a time

2017-01-12 12:23
Rita Nako with Johan Booysen, author of 'Blood on Their Hands'. (Supplied)

Rita Nako with Johan Booysen, author of 'Blood on Their Hands'. (Supplied)

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Durban – Rita Nako hopes to change the world… one book at a time.

Nako, from Port Shepstone, wants to ensure that reading becomes part of the country's value system.

Having worked at a local bookshop, Nako decided to start a book club. She started by inviting local and national writers to Port Shepstone to share their experiences while writing their books.

"I live in a small town and most of the women I know love reading. When I saw the popularity of the Hlomu series by Dudu Busani-Dube, I reached out to her and asked her to come down to Margate and engage with her readers. I wanted to start a conversation."

After Busani-Dube's visit and the success of the first book club, Nako saw a golden opportunity to create a monthly book club in her area.

"I was amazed by the reception the Hlomu series received. People from all walks of life wanted to come to the book club. I had to hire a bigger venue when the demand started growing. I realised that I needed to not only start making this a business, but also help my community and the independent authors in South Africa."

'Drive and hustle'

During the monthly book club meetings, authors such as Busani-Dube and Msizi Nkosi got an opportunity to market and sell their books.

"I wanted this club to be beneficial to all involved. My friends and community get to learn more about what goes into moulding a character and the authors have an opportunity to sell their product.

"I wanted to also put a focus on independent authors who don't have a publishing house behind them. I respect their drive and hustle and I think this can also motivate the people in my town to start following their dreams."

Nako hopes to take her book club to schools around the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

"I want to create a movement. I want people to love reading and I want writers to write more relatable stories. My dream is for us to inspire children to read. I am determined to do this one step at a time."

Port Shepstone residents listen attentively
Port Shepstone residents listen attentively during one Nako's book club events. (Supplied)

According to the Unesco Institute for Statistics, 123 million youth globally are illiterate, of which 76 million are female.

In its 2013 statistics, Unesco reported that young South African women aged 15-24 were making the strongest gains in literacy, but were still lagging behind young men.

In 2011, 87% of female youth had basic literacy skills, compared to 92% of males.

Read more on:    durban  |  literacy  |  good news

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