South Africa’s The Big Issue is kicking off its 2016 series of engaging business breakfasts with Philani Dladla, the ‘Pavement Bookworm’.
The magazine, which is sold by vendors who pocket half its cover price, as part of a job creation social enterprise, believes Dladla tells one of the most inspiring young South African stories you’re ever likely to encounter. It’s a story he will share with the project’s vendors too.
SAFM’s Nancy Richards will interview Dladla about his ‘big issue’ at the Table Bay Hotel on 26 January. [Click here for booking information].
An avid reader with an insatiable desire for knowledge, Dladla used his love for books to overcome drug addiction and change his lot in life – while trying to do the same for others.
Growing up in rural KZN, he was a pre-teen when his mother’s employer left him his book collection. His initiation under the Mandela Bridge, a place he would call home for years, was to share his clothes. He did, however, manage to keep his bag of books.
Refusing to be just any other beggar on the streets of Johannesburg, he started reviewing them and selling them to motorists driving up Empire Road near Wits. He charged a price according to how he rated the work in question. His unique approach soon captured Jozi’s attention and he became known as “the pavement bookworm”. Documentary filmmaker Tebogo Malope interviewed him about his roadside bookstall and posted the video online where it went viral.
And his life changed.
Today Dladla has achieved international acclaim and through his motivational speaking shares the power of reading and how it helped him overcome adversity. He has also started the Pavement Bookworm Foundation whose aim is to collect books and distribute them to underprivileged children in and around Johannesburg. He also runs book clubs for children from Joubert Park.
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