ICMIF member AVBOB (South Africa), in partnership with Oxford University Press Southern Africa, launched the Road to Literacy campaign on World Book and Copyright Day this year. This national campaign invited South Africans to nominate primary schools or non-profit organisations to receive a mobile trolley library manufactured by AVBOB Industries and stocked with books donated by Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
Through the pages of the 86,000 donated books in 180 mobile trolley libraries, Road to Literacy aims to support government’s Read to Lead campaign to address poor literacy and numeracy skills.
To help remove a crucial barrier that may have prevented people from nominating schools, access to the Road to Literacy website did not require the use of mobile data. Nominations closed on 31 May 2022, and the response received was phenomenal – from radio adverts to social media, interviews on TV and radio, as well as TikTok and other digital platforms like Google. The campaign received over 74,000 clicks and 5,562 completed nominations.
On 8 September 2022, the 180 schools selected to receive a mobile trolley library were announced in an engaging livestreamed event on International Literacy Day. In attendance were Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr Reginah Mhaule, AVBOB CEO, Carl van der Riet, and Oxford University Press Southern Africa Sales Director, Botho Mothibi, with Given Mabena as MC for the evening.
Deputy Minister Mhaule delivered the keynote address in which she shared details on the Department’s 1,000 School Libraries Campaign, which aims to “revitalise and/or make available 1,000 school libraries per year in all underprivileged schools from 2015 until 2024.”
Mhaule further noted that government’s Read to Lead campaign was created in support of the above. “To complement this ambitious programme, the goal of the Read to Lead campaign is to establish a reading revolution in schools and beyond.”
“Our singular focus is making reading fashionable again. If we make reading a lifestyle of our children and adults, South Africa will become an oasis of intellectuals and a reservoir of knowledge,” shared Mhaule. These lofty ideals are shared by AVBOB, as Van der Riet stated, “As AVBOB we are committed to improving education at a fundamental level. This commitment is reinforced by Sasha Salmina’s quote: ‘A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks.’”
In an informative question and answer session, Mothibi provided insight into the inspiration for the Road to Literacy campaign for AVBOB and Oxford University Press Southern Africa: “Our shared vision is to give every child in South Africa the gift of reading in their own language, as there is nothing that can transform and empower individual lives, communities and society as much as the ability to read with understanding.”
The announcement of the 180 winning schools and NPOs was fittingly bookended by performances by students of the Sekampaneng Primary School, whose beautiful renditions of Thuma Mina and Stand by Me were a highlight of the event.