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Book fair promoting a culture of reading
Khanya College launched the first edition of the Jozi Book Fair (JBF) in August 2009, in collaboration with Botsotso Publishers at Museum Africa, in Newtown. Khanya will host JBF 2015 Wits University in Braamfonteinon on the 11th - 13th of September 2015.
The overall objective of the Jozi Book Fair is to provide a visible public platform where key social partners can come together and promote a culture of reading and writing. These social partners are:
· Readers in the form of the general public, and specific constituencies within this broad public;
· Book clubs and study circles, irrespective of their age group;
· Writers and authors, in particular emerging new writers and
· Small, emerging and indigenous language publishers.
South Africa has at least 5 million adults who cannot read or write, 5-8 million adults whose reading and writing ability is very low and tens of millions of South Africans who do not read regularly. Only a very small section of the public, estimated at 1% of the total population, reads and buys books both for leisure (fiction) and self-education or self-advancement (non-fiction). This harsh reality has encouraged the Jozi Book Fair to embark on the Reading Project, which aims to:
- Create readers through interventions and programmes that aim to promote a culture of reading by encouraging communities to organise themselves into reading formations, including book clubs, study groups, reading circles, and ‘friends of the library’ programmes and by also establishing community resource centres, etc.
- Support existing formations of organised readers by connecting them to public libraries and other supporting infrastructure and programmes.
- Improve and strengthen the work of organised readers through programmes like reading workshops, book launches, and meet-the-author sessions, reading and storytelling sessions and reading competitions as well as linking groups with film clubs and film makers.
- Encourage reading by publishing book reviews, poems and short stories by members of organised reading groups in “My Class”, the newsletter of the Jozi Book Fair.
Working with libraries on campaigns to improve the acquisitions of libraries, especially those in townships, and also engage in campaigns to promote access to affordable books for readers.
- To develop a community of emerging writers, a wider platform for established writers, and to encourage literacy to large audiences;
- Assist various social movements with training to develop their own newsletters, thereby establishing a new layer of citizen journalists;
- Establish reading circles in schools and community libraries to encourage the development of consistent reading and analysis;
- Provide reading and writing skills workshops;
- Publish writing online and in the “ My Class” newsletter to encourage writing;
- Encourage indigenous language reading, writing and publishing;
- Nurture and develop a new generation of writers of diverse local stories.
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