Making a difference in South Africa

2011-08-03 00:00

DI Smith’s new book, You’re Awesome , is not the result of a life-long ambition to be an author, but rather comes from her passion to do something to make South Africa a better and safer place.

“I looked at the huge disparity between rich and poor, and the breakdown in communications between people, and I knew I had to do something,” she says.

She started her own non-profit organisation, Peace Initiative, which later merged with Awesome South Africa.

The ­organisation gives talks and supports individuals and ­organisations, including Gcina Mhlope and the Zahke ­Agricultural College in Baynesfield.

Ten percent of the profits from the book will go to ­support their work.

But before they can change the world, or even a small part of it, individuals have to change themselves, says Smith. And so, the idea of You’re Awesome was born.

The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, many taken on the farm in East ­Griqualand where Smith grew up, by Eastern Cape photographer Terrence Mtola. It is divided into 52 short chapters, one for each week of the year. But with so many self-help books on the shelves, why does Smith feel there is a space for another?

“Very few are from South ­Africa,” says Smith. “And if it is to have an impact, it has to ­relate to people’s lives.”

The book has a foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and following that, Smith goes on to offer a practical way of making a difference, drawn from her own experiences.

She says she has written the book to get the message out rather than to make money. She is keen to target women’s groups, believing that women are the backbone of society.

She would also like to see the book in schools, perhaps as part of the life-orientation curriculum, though the price of over R200 may make this problematic.

• You’re Awesome will be launched at Bookworld at ­Cascades, tomorrow at 5.30 pm for 6 pm. To book your place, phone Kerrie Muldoon at Kerrie@coretalk. Smith will also be at Exclusive Books in the Liberty Midlands Mall for a book signing, between 10 am and 2 pm on Saturday.

For more information on Awesome SA, visit the website at www.awesome

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