A UNIQUE book has found 10 special homes where it is expected to nurture new readers, leaders, thinkers, analysts and, hopefully, an author.
Called Band of Troubadours, the book is a collection of poetry, essays, short stories and extracts from novels by more than 40 emerging and established writers.
The writers were honoured between 2005 and 2007 through the South African Literary Awards, the nation-building partnership project of wRite Associates, the Department of Arts and Culture, Nutrend Publishers, Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.
These awards recognise, acknowledge and reward writers who have distinguished themselves as ground-breaking producers and creators of literature.
The awards also celebrates literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of our country's histories, value systems and philosophies, which are preserved in the 11 official languages and preserving our literary heritage.
Authors include Es'kia Mphahlele, Mongane Serote, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Dennis Brutus, James Matthews, Bongani Madondo, Ronnie Govender, Mafika Gwala, Lewis Nkosi, Nardine Gordimer, Ellen Khuzwayo, Bessie Head, Ingoapele Madingoane, Mazisi Kunene and Miriam Tlali.
At the conclusion of the 14th annual Stop Crime Drama Festival in Mmabatho, North West recently, 10 artists who write and direct theatre productions and work mostly with young people were each given a copy of Band of Troubadours.
They can add the book to their libraries or use it to start libraries to contribute to a culture of reading, writing and creative, critical and analytical articulation.
The festival is a nation-building partnerships project of Dramatists Against Crime, the National Arts Council, Absa Foundation, Sowetan, Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation and the North West sports, arts and culture department.
The artists who were given a copy of Band of Troubadours are:
lMafikeng, North West's Lebo Ntsie, the author and director of the play The Reason;
lKimberley, Northern Cape's Ohentse Bodibe, who wrote and directed the play, Rice;
lPotchefstroom, North West's Thamsanqa Sitshaka, who wrote and directs Confessions;
lSoweto, Gauteng's Jerry Raletebele, who produced The Loot;
lWelkom, Free State's Jacky Moshane, who wrote and directedKuzekubenini;
lWolmaransstad, North West's Nancy Morule, author and director of Bokamoso;
lPolokwane, Limpopo's Selaelo Maredi, who produced Heart To Soul;
lTlhabane, Rustenburg's Rapula Khumalo, who wrote and directed Obakeng;
lRustenburg, North West's Stanley Letebele, who produced Case Nr 619; and
lMmabatho, North West's Danny Jason author and director of Diary of a Mad Society.
It is hoped that Ntsie, Bodibe, Sitshaka, Raletebele, Moshane, Morule, Khumalo, Jason, Letebele and Maredi will use the poetry, essays, extracts from novels and the many other literary genres carried in the collection to inspire their young charges to realise the value of reading and writing, as well as to consider research as the backbone of any type of creative expression, especially drama, comedy, farce or thrillers.
Youngsters who are creative and read every day will easily develop their vocabulary, good language skills, discover and decipher new words and phrases.
Chiefly, when they choose to maintain a thriving relationship with a library - whether in their homes, church, youth club or at a community library - they will become familiar with and develop a liking for contemporary writers and established authors while at the same time making sense of their social, political, economic environment and issues of the global village.
Sadly, there is a dearth of local authors in our community libraries. Hopefully, the young people will put pressure on the librarians when they do not find the work of the writers they enjoy. Samples of good writing appear in Band of Troubadours.
There are countless other home-brewed artists whose literary efforts, exploits, finesse and talents have enriched our reading pleasures over the years, and others who have followed in the fine paths.