South Africans must read

ON September 21 a friend of mine e-mailed me about Don Makatile's article: Few people read books in South Africa.

ON September 21 a friend of mine e-mailed me about Don Makatile's article: Few people read books in South Africa.

The article revealed that only 14percent of South Africans read books and a mere 5percent of the population read to their children.

A leading book store recently closed down in Soweto's Maponya Mall because of poor sales .

What I understand from this is that very few people in Soweto read. If only 14percent of South Africans are interested in reading books, what about the remaining 86percent? Take from that figure a percentage of people who are illiterate and you are still left with a shockingly high percentage of people who just don't read.

About 60percent or more of economically active South Africans spend most of their time working. When they are not working they are probably shopping, travelling, sleeping, attending church, taking part in sports or attending funerals. A large number of people spend their leisure time either watching American soapies or drinking liquor.

If that number were to swop fantasy TV and liquor with reading for pleasure, can you imagine the significant rise from 14 percent to a mind-boggling 40 percent more people reading?

Wouldn't that be a significant spring cleaning of our people's psyche? This nation needs readers in order to progress in the global economy. Let us start reading.

There is nothing wrong with not being able to read, but the challenge is that those who cannot read will have to put up with insults from those people who can but just will not do it.

Fusi Motaung, Craighall Park

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