Elitha van der Sandt, CEO of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), led the National Book Week’s Women’s Month celebrations with a message that “reading girls grow into leading women.”
Van der Sandt was speaking as host of a book-reading and book-buying event sponsored by the boutique investment banking group, Musa Capital held at Exclusive Books in Rosebank. In attendance were 40 girls from the Leshata Secondary School in Orange Farm and their caregivers.
The event was part of the Buy-A-Book Campaign anchored by National Book Week (NBW), which takes place from September 07-13, 2015. With more than half of South African households not having a single leisure book in their home, this year’s NBW campaign calls upon individuals and businesses to “Buy-A-Book’” and donate it to someone who does not have one. “Having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact in propelling a child to higher levels of education,” says a 20-year study across 27 countries.”
Leading by example, The SABDC donated R9 250.00 in Book Tokens to ensure the youth and their caregivers could enjoy the pleasure of buying their own brand new book. NBW is an annual campaign of the SABDC aimed at promoting the thrill and magic of reading books. It is guided by the idea that when the nation learns to share the joy of reading books, the country as a whole benefits as this leads to empowered, self reliant communities.
Surrounded by a glorious horde of books on display, Van der Sandt challenged the gathered girls to rise and one day become leaders of our country, “because that’s what we do as girls and women, we lead. We have a leading role to play in the transformation of our country”.
NBW ambassador, businesswoman and award-winning writer of “Happiness Is a Four-letter Word”, Cynthia Jele read excerpts from The Big Crush, a title from the Fundza series of popular local books. This was followed by a question and answer session with the wide- eyed girls quizzing Jele about her life and work. Some even shared their own stories.
Pointing out the girls’ soaring confidence, Van der Sandt thanked Cynthia Parrish of Musa Capital for their support saying, “You’ve become a big part of what we do at National Book Week.”
Parrish spoke about how programmes like NBW give meaning to her company. She underscored her message to the girls with a motivational message. “We must salute and emulate those women who laid the foundation and be encouraged by their example, knowing that as women we are powerful,” she said.