Picture: SABDC
The first week in September is National Book Week, the most recognised campaign for promoting reading in South Africa.

The campaign was initiated in 2010 by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture.

A study was conducted in 2006 and last year to show national reading patterns. The results illustrated there was a total of 51% in 2006 and 58% in 2016 of South African households that did not own a single leisure book, and that only 14% of the population consists of committed readers.

This year's National Book Week theme is #OurStories, aimed at mitigating these numbers through a nationwide tour, mostly reaching beyond the urban and metro areas.

“We have our own narrative and story to tell, one that has been formed by our diversity and similarities, adversities and achievements.

“Books are the richest format of stories and one of the best ways to let the world know who we are,” said Elitha van der Sandt, chief executive of the SABDC.

As part of the nationwide tour, the SABDC will visit different schools in Laingsburg for fun activities including storytelling, face painting, craft making, poetry sessions and indigenous games, among others.

SABDC also promotes the purchasing and reading of books through #BUYABOOK campaign, which draws attention to various programmes to ensure that books reach as many South African homes as possible.