Twenty four year old Philani Dladla is one of the most inspirational young South Africans you’re likely to meet. An avid reader with an insatiable desire for knowledge, Philani has used his love for books to overcome drug addiction and change his lot in life – while trying to do the same for others.
Philani does it differently.
Every day he takes his ever-changing library to a different corner in Johannesburg and sets up a sort of impromptu literary discussion group and bookshop.
For anyone interested, he will review his books…which he has read all of…and then you can buy one from him. In this way, he raises money for himself and his homeless friends as well as spreading happiness. He says…
“Reading is not harmful. There’s no such thing as harmful knowledge. This thing is only going to make you a better person.”
Hailing from Port Shepstone in KZN, Philani Dladla has found some solace in the heart of Johannesburg by sharing the stories he reads with drivers during peak-hour traffic.
Drug-addiction has been the main cause of Dladla’s woes that led to him losing his job, apartment and most of the life he had before this.
Dubbed ‘The Pavement Bookworm’, Philani’s story has gained international attention – which he hopes to channel into real support for his literacy project and Book Reader’s Club for underprivileged children in Johannesburg.
“The more I read, the more I wanted to be a better person in my life. I decided to share stories with other people. I didn’t just want to beg. I wanted to give something back to the person that shared their money with me. I wanted to give people value for their money,”
Apart from the little money Dladla makes by selling books, he also shares his stories with the children on the streets.
He has formed a book club with these children who love to read and share with others what they have read.
This pavement bookworm now has a PR company representing him and is currently working on his own book.