Bringing back the culture of reading

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Author Rosie Motene encourages reading at the Exclusive Book Pan African Reading Room at the Windybrow Arts Centre in Johannesburg.

The Exclusive Book Pan African Reading Room at the Windybrow Arts Centre in Johannesburg.
The Exclusive Book Pan African Reading Room at the Windybrow Arts Centre in Johannesburg.

In an innovative partnership between the Market Theatre Foundation and Exclusive Books two reading rooms was launched at the Windybrow Arts Centre as a hub for the advancement of Pan-African literature on July 18, 2017. In 2018 the dynamic partnership was awarded the BASA Awards in the in-kind sponsorship category.

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On 8 November 2019 the Windybrow Arts Centre hosted author Rosie Motene to reactivate the space and to intensify the Centre’s commitment of bringing the culture of reading back to Hillbrow. The Reading Lounge for Adults will be augmented with more books, one of them the best-selling Reclaiming the Soil by Motene. In an inspiring talk, Rosie presented her bestseller and helped unpack the challenges of inspiring reading in under-resourced areas.

Smangele Mathebula facilitated the Speed Booking session, an activity that will be frequently held at the Windybrow Arts Centre next year. She is the co-founder of Madibookeng – an interactive book initiative. The concept is inspired by the model of speed dating but in this case, participants will talk about their books and at the end of the session hopefully exchange books.

“Increasing access to books for the Hillbrow community will encourage parents and children to read thus improving and enriching their vocabulary and knowledge,” said Keitu Gwangwa, head of the Windybrow Arts Centre.

The Windybrow Arts centre houses two reading lounges for children and adults. It has books from all over the continent and children’s books in every South African language.

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