This memoir of Philani Dladla is one of the most inspiring, young South African stories you’re ever likely to encounter. 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.
A wonderful story of inspiration is unfolding in Empire Road and other streets of Johannesburg where a well-known South African storyteller has discovered an unknown book-lover. Three days ago South African director, cinematographer and storyteller Tebogo Malope (29) posted a video interview with an unlikely bookworm - 24-year-old homeless man, Philani.
Philani Dladla is a well-known feature of Joburg's streets. The Pavement Bookworm reads books and gives reviews to passers-by. If they like the review, they buy the book. This way, he pays rent and buys food. But his bigger goal is promoting literacy among children.
As a child growing up in KwaZulu Natal he had always loved books. But after moving to Johannesburg to find work, he started taking drugs. "I left my job and couldn't afford rent anymore - I lost everything. While living on the streets I noticed how many beggars there were getting money for nothing on street corners.
I first posted about Philani Dladla (aka The Pavement Bookworm) back on August 28. In case you didn't see that post, It's a great story, especially if you follow the links and watch the videos associated with Dladla's journey.
In November 2013, the South African filmmaker Tebogo Malope interviewed a peculiar street vendor in Johannesburg as part of a series of conversations with everyday folk around town. A 24-year-old homeless man with a trove of books, all of which he'd read, this vendor would chat about them with passers-by, sell his wares at rates scaled to his reviews, and give a few away free to kids.
@tiaredunlap 10/06/2015 AT 11:20 AM EDT Philani Dladla credits his love of books with helping him overcome a drug addiction - and getting him off the streets. Now, the man known in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the "pavement bookworm" has written a book himself.