Even as a child, the library was a magical place for Smangele Mathebula.
So it’s not really surprising that she grew up to become a literary activist of note. She is the co-founder of DiBookeng, an initiative that tries to come up with creative ideas to get people reading. One of them, Literary Speed Booking, is a dinner event where book lovers have short literary dates (of three to five minutes) with fellow book lovers who are unknown to them.
Another one, #freebooks, is a campaign aimed at “freeing” the book: she and her peers collect book donations and then set up stalls in public places, like taxi ranks, where they give the books away for free; no catches. Mathebula, 28, is a Ford Scholar, and holds a master’s degree in publishing from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.
Her attachment to books is the driving force behind her activism: “I’m completely in love with books and I wish I had adequate words to describe how they make me feel. I believe that every adult and child can and should be able to cultivate an emotional and imaginative world that is inspired by the true magic of stories. The benefits are endless.”
Find Mathebula on Twitter: @nonyana4