Representatives from left to right: Tumi (THAT Network), Sally (Nali’bali), Teresa (LIASA), Shakirah (THAT Network), Jana (Van Schaik Booksellers) and Zilungile (FunDza Literacy Trust)

Why do you read? Why does anyone read? Is it because it’s fun or relaxing or because you want to gain new knowledge? Is it to escape your current reality by traveling to far-flung ‘places’? Or is it perhaps to make new friends within the pages of a book? There are so many reasons to read… and there is so much that one gains from reading.

But it is no secret that South Africa does not have a vibrant culture of reading. The literacy levels of school children are well below those in other countries, and many adults struggle to read with proficiency and ease. Moreover, books are expensive and that means that there are few books in homes, and even fewer books in our indigenous languages that support our country’s multilingualism. All these – and many other reasons besides – mean that few South Africans read for leisure and derive the immense benefits that can be gained from reading.

To highlight the multiple benefits of reading, the SA Book Development Council, which runs the SA Book Fair and National Book Week, has called on a number of partners to design a collaborative social media campaign. The other partners include FunDza, as well as Nal’ibali, PASA, LIASA, Project Literacy, National Library of SA, and Van Schaik Booksellers.

The organisations have joined forces to make South Africans aware of the benefits of reading for leisure and writing as a means of expression through the soon-to-be-launched #ReadBecause campaign, which will run across a variety of social media platforms.

#ReadBecause is a call to action. It encourages South Africans to speak about the reasons why they love to read, and in so doing, inspire others to read for those same reasons (and more) too.

The #ReadBecause campaign launches on World Book Day, 23 April, via social media, reading clubs and libraries. It will launch with a variety of multilingual videos featuring ordinary people giving their reasons for reading.

Join the movement! Inspire a culture of reading! Celebrate our country’s diversity of languages, culture and stories!

Be part of the activities by using the official #ReadBecause hashtag when posting on social media from 23 April and encourage your followers to join the movement, share their reasons… and pick up a book and start reading too!