Pretoria advocate runs Comrades while reading book to promote literacy

2019-06-12 11:52
Advocate Marukgwane Moremogolo. (Photo: Supplied)

Advocate Marukgwane Moremogolo. (Photo: Supplied)

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A Pretoria advocate has found a cause close to his heart and is running with it – literally.

Advocate Marukgwane Moremogolo caught people’s attention when he was spotted reading while running the 2019 Comrades Marathon up run at the weekend.

His reason: promoting literacy among South Africans.

The 39-year-old says he decided to run for a cause in 2016 after coming across a shocking report. “I had read a weekend newspaper [article] that highlighted the dropping levels of literacy in South Africa,” he tells YOU.

So, when he heard about people running the marathon for a cause, collecting books as his cause made sense to him. “I’ve always been an activist at heart.

“I read for fun and I enjoy books, so I thought as a response to the dropping levels of literacy in our country, I’d run for books,” he continues.

He says he capitalised on the fact that people who do funny things while running the marathon tend to get the right attention.

“I thought that if I run with a book it will be funny enough for me to put the message across.”

His approach worked.

The FunDza Literacy Trust in Cape Town donated a book for every kilometre he’d run and delivered all 88 of them before he even participated in the marathon, he tells us.

Marukgwane says the target for the foundation he started, Literacy is Life, was to collect 400 books, but because of the overwhelming response they increased it to 600 and subsequently reached the target within a week of increasing it.

“Mr Tinyiko Mashaba of the University of Pretoria gave us three boxes of books – 250 books or so,” says Marukgwane, adding that he also received books from many other individuals.

Currently, the beneficiaries of the books are Makgatho Primary School in Pretoria, Bula Tsela Primary School in the Vaal, Gauteng, and the Moses Molelekwa Arts Foundation in Tembisa on the East Rand, Gauteng.

“Our aim is to stock up their libraries...The campaign has received so much from South Africans that we’ll even be starting a library at the Moses Molelekwa Arts [Community Centre], and going forward we’ll look at communities that have a need for books,” says Marukgwane.

“But we also don’t want to just drop off the books. We want to encourage a culture of reading and the FunDza Literacy [Trust] is willing to train a few of us and our volunteers as well as teachers to be able to use that material to teach and encourage kids to read.”

Marukgwane has participated in four Comrades Marathons since 2016. But only started incorporating his trademark – reading while running – last year.

This year, he hit the road with Moletlo wa Manong (A Feast of the Vultures), a Tswana novel that follows a journalist investigating corruption in the post-apartheid administration in Kimberly, written by Sabata-mpho Mokae.

He started reading from the 44km mark until the end, but only while going uphill.

Last year he read during the last three kilometres of the marathon.

Growing up in a North West village, Marukgwane says there was no TV to watch so he developed a love for reading and listening to the radio.

When he moved to Mamelodi Township in Pretoria at the age of 10, reading became his comfort.

“I couldn’t play soccer, I couldn’t dance – I was not fashionable. So, when my peers were outside playing, I found solace in books,” he tells us.

The advocate says he’ll be participating in more events this year with the hope of collecting more books for those in need.

Read more on:    comrades  |  comrades marathon  |  literacy  |  reading
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