This morning I read a small piece on Philani Dladla, a young South African man who has turned his life around through book reviews. I found it so inspiring I want to share the story with you.
Philani Dladla, also known as the Pavement Bookworm, grew up in KwaZula Natal loving books but after he moved to Johannesburg to find work he started using drugs. When he could no longer pay his rent he was forced to start living on the streets. He noticed that many beggars were getting money for nothing and decided he would be different and offer something for money. That something was books and reviews.
He started selling books that he had read and offering a book review with the book. He priced the books according to how much he enjoyed them. The more enjoyment he got from a book, the more it would cost you to buy it. He soon became known as the Pavement Bookworm and his small business started growing.
With this new level of self esteem, some motivation and a lot of self help books, Philani decided to stop using drugs and help others. He used the money he made from selling books to buy soup and bread for the homeless. Soon after he decided to share his love of books with underprivileged children by setting up a Book Readers Club in a local park where kids were hanging out waiting for their parents to finish work.
He would give the children books on the condition that they came back to him to share what they learnt from the book. The children and Philani not only read together they discuss their hopes, dreams and challenges, but most of all they support each other through the tough times.
A story like this, a man like this, gives us hope for the homeless and the drug addicts. Life can be challenging for everyone, but especially these people. If something as simple as the love of reading can turn their lives around, that is fantastic, to share that love and help turn other lives around, is inspirational.