By: Anele Gcwabe
If you believe that “a reading nation is a growing nation”, you’ll understand the power that is held by Revived Literature Fair (RLF). This is an initiative that is aimed at promoting a reading culture among vulnerable youth. They create a platform for the youth of Ennerdale, South of Johannesburg, to read and write. RLF hopes to encourage young people to express themselves and voice their views in order to increase their socio-economic dimension in life and to tell their stories from their own perspective. They also provide them with information and resources that allow them to prosper in life.
This very necessary initiative was started in 2018 by Activator, Mbali Skosana, who says that she hopes to revive Africa through reading and writing. This project that started off as a once off project, has grown so much that young writers now meet every week to share stories and encourage each other to read and write. They started by knocking on the doors of their community members to invite aspiring young writers to join in on the fun of reading. Today, they also use social media and run outreaches to attract other young writers. Skhosana’s role is to mobilise the youth in her community, provide them with books from donors and invite established writer and authors to motivate the youth as well as to make sure that the programme runs efficiently.
RLF has partnered with local organisations like Ennerdale Library and information services, Spectrum Primary School, Raising HappyFeelings NPO and Gulube Creations. “Our biggest achievement is the youth magazine that we published, it attracted the attention of South African Actress, Latoya Makhene, who is one of our donors”, explains Skhosana.
Skhosana hopes that this initiative will help to keep the youth of her community off the streets and encourage them to help each other through their shared stories. She hopes that the young authors will be able to motivate others and find opportunities to generate income through their writing. She hopes that by training writers while they are still young, they will be able to bridge the unemployment gap in South Africa.
Skhosana further explains that writing is also a form of therapy for young people who may be going through tough times. She says that writing about their experiences does not only help the young writers navigate life, it also helps the reader to know that they are not alone in whatever situation that they might be dealing with. By writing about their experiences and telling their stories from their own perspectives, the writers grow in their craft, but also help the reader to grow their vocabulary and their ability to deal with life and its challenges.
Revived Literature Fair truly is an influential way to grow the community of Ennerdale and South Africa. Anyone who is interested in helping this initiative is welcomed to donate books to them. I, for one, cannot wait to read the stories that will be written by bestselling authors and established journalists that reign from Ennerdale.