National Book Week Media Release

South Africa’s largest and most recognised reading promotion campaign is back! This year marks the ninth annual National Book Week (NBW) in association with Department of Arts & Culture, which will see the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) embark on a nationwide tour from 3 to 9 September in all nine provinces, reaching beyond urban centres and metros. 

The theme for this year’s event is #OURSTORIES, which is intended to highlight not only the fact that storytelling is deeply ingrained in African culture, but that South Africans can – and should – be the authors of their own stories. 

Africa’s rich storytelling tradition dates back thousands of years and has always been an engaging and entertaining way of transferring knowledge, history and details of both personal and social experience from one generation to another. The ancient roots of this tradition are often not well known or understood, so one of the objectives of National Book Week is to reclaim this lost history for current and future generations. 

“An interest in reading is often catalysed by a personal experience of storytelling,” says Elitha van der Sandt, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), which hosts both National Book Week and the South African Book Fair every year. “Story is therefore one of the most important gateways into reading.” 

This is particularly relevant when one considers the fact that 58% of South African households have no leisure reading books. This deficit fuels the widespread problem of grade fours (4) not being able to read for meaning. It is with this in mind that National Book Week features the #READABOOK/#BUYABOOK initiative, which aims to encourage reading amongst South Africans andbring more leisure books into households through an in-store donation platform provided in bookstores.  

The #BUYABOOK initiative, through the SABDC’s publishing partners, will have select titles available at Exclusive Books, Bargain Books, Bridge Books, Love Books and Ethnikids for only R20 from 20 August – 09 September 2018. This is all forms part of National Book Week’s aim to get as many books into South African homes.  

“National Book Week is also used as a platform to promote books written and published in indigenous languages,” says van der Sandt, “which is fundamental to the SABDC’s mission of encouraging the development of a reading culture in South Africa. This ties into and continues the tradition of intergenerational storytelling on which the #OURSTORIES theme is based.” 

“This year’s National Book Week has more to offer readers of all ages than ever before,” says van der Sandt, “and we invite people around the country to join us in celebrating the timeless joy of storytelling, books and reading.” 

National Book Week is celebrated nationwide from 03-07 September, with planned activities scheduled to take place as follows:

03 Sept
Limpopo – Polokwane,
Free State 
Western Cape - Op die Berg

04 Sept
Mpumalanga – Mgobodzi
Northern Cape – Kathu 
Eastern Cape – Komga 
Western Cape -  Bella Vista

05 Sept 
Western Cape - Nduli
Eastern Cape – Komga 

06 Sept
KwaZulu-Natal – Mzingazi
North West Province – Letsopa 

07 Sept
Gauteng – Newtown
Eastern Cape - Port Elizabeth

The National Book Week activities are proudly funded by the Department of Arts and Culture. 


Released on behalf of the South African Book Fair by Native Worx PR & Communications (South Africa). 

For further information about National Book Week, please visit: 

For media enquiries, please contact:
021-914 8626

Maiyo Febi
Native Worx PR & Communications

Morapedi Sekhoane
Dept Sport, Arts and Culture NC
078 944 0200

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