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South Africa: Reading Essential for Nation Building
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Monday, October 27, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 27, 2014

The Funda Mzantsi Championship project is an initiative spearheaded by the Centre for the Book, an Outreach Unit of the National Library of South Africa responsible for promoting reading, writing and publishing in all local languages and ensuring access to books.

One of the key focus areas is to establish book clubs in schools, communities and correctional services in order to inculcate a culture of book reading targeting youth.

The national competition sees book clubs compete in different categories such as reading and reviewing. Since 2013 to date, the Funda Mzantsi Championship was hosted in partnership with the Department of Correctional Services.

The Funda Mzantsi Championship will take place from 6-8 October 2014, under the theme “Developing Creative Minds: Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy: Tell your story that moves South Africa forward”.

A total of 500 people are expected to attend the championship including officials from the three spheres of Government, Correctional Services inmates and Schools’ Book Clubs from different regions across the country.

However, according to the research commissioned by the South African Book Development Council, South Africa is not a reading nation.

Only 14% of South Africans are active book readers and a mere 5% of parents read to their children, according to the report.

It further indicated that 51% of households in South Africa did not have a single book in their home.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi committed her department to the preservation, development and promotion of South African literature in all its forms and genres.

“South Africa has 11 Official Languages. We are conscious of promoting the nine indigenous South African languages to give equity to them and encourage writers to write in these languages,” she said.

In support of a literary culture that fosters inclusivity, she said they will continue to work with the National Library of South Africa to identify and reprint books regarded as literary classics in South African languages. The project was first launched in February 2008, with 27 books.
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