Literacy: Boks hope to inspire bookworms too

2013-06-07 00:00

DURBAN –— Their main aim is to train up Springboks, but if the South African Rugby Union (Saru) can also create a few bookworms in the process, they would be happy.

The union yesterday launched its Boks for Books campaign to collect books for libraries in schools. Saru will invest R1,5 million in its first year to help improve literacy in South Africa.

The primary school kwaManzine — in kwaDengezi outside Pinetown — will be the first school to get a better library. Saru has donated books, computers and printers to the value of R445 000.

Saru’s executive head Jurie Roux said the union decided on this programme after the issue of illiteracy was raised by the media. Improving literacy is also close to the hearts of the players, especially Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and the Stormers flank Siya Kolisi.

Kolisi said he did well in his township school, but could not read English or Afrikaans when he went to Grade 7 at Grey in Port Elizabeth. “It was very tough, but I decided to accept the challenge,” Kolisi said.

He said he hoped the initiative would make a difference for indigent children. “Sport can keep children off the streets and it would help if there are also libraries.”

De Villiers’s new Boks soon realised that they had a larger responsibility as role models. “You realise quickly that the responsibility is very big and stretches further than 80 minutes on a Saturday.”

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