Giving children a treasure of their own

2019-08-27 06:00
National Book Week’s mascot, Funda Bala, entertained children at the Exclusive Books store in Cavendish Mall on Saturday 24 August.

National Book Week’s mascot, Funda Bala, entertained children at the Exclusive Books store in Cavendish Mall on Saturday 24 August.

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Children had the chance to rub, well, book corners with National Book Week’s (NBW) official mascot, Funda Bala, at Cavendish Mall on Saturday 24 August, and at Tygervalley Centre on Sunday 25 August.

A life-sized book, Funda Bala, which means ”read, read” in Nguni and Sotho, made an appearance at Exclusive Books stores to mark the launch of the #buyabook campaign X one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s reading awareness week, celebrated during the first week of September.

This year, the #buyabook campaign is once again supported nationally by Exclusive Books and Bargain Books. All South Africans are encouraged to #buyabook from the select list of titles which also include books in indigenous languages, to donate.

According to the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), 58% of homes in South Africa do not have a single leisure reading book.

“We cannot promote reading to book-scarce communities. While libraries, both in the communities and schools play a vital role in ensuring good reading material is available, books in homes will make the difference,” says Elitha van der Sandt, chief executive officer at SABDC.

“Being surrounded by books at home matters because books enhance lifelong cognitive competencies well beyond the usual impact on literacy and numeracy.”

NBW, driven by the department of arts and culture, was launched in 2010 in response to a study commissioned by the development into the book reading habits of adult South Africans.

The study revealed that just 14% of South Africans actively read, while 73% of adult South Africans claimed not to be interested in books.

“By supporting the #buyabook campaign, you are giving a child the timeless gift of owning their own little treasure. It allows all of us to share the magic of stories and books with the children, youth and adults alike.”

The campaign goes beyond just putting books into the hands of children. Together with the department of arts and culture and the department of library services in the provinces and various municipalities, NBW will host 10 Indigenous Language Reading Festivals in far off communities.

The books, which cost R20 each, can be donated at the till and dropped in the book bins displayed at the stores. The campaign ends Saturday 8 September.

The donated books will be collected from all participating stores and shared with reading promotion projects around the country who donate it to homes.

Books will also be donated in the provinces hosting the reading festivals.

Funda Bala will meet and take pictures with children at the Exclusive Books store at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 31 August at 11:00.

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