THEIR campaign to breed a generation of readers received a boost when Nelson Mandela Bay's Zama Reading Club won eight boxes of books in a national competition.
The New Brighton reading club was one of hundreds from around South Africa to enter The Herald's Nal'ibali library competition. They walked off with 2000 books.
The Nal'ibali supplement, which is published as a pullout inside The Herald every Thursday, is an initiative that encourages reading. It comes in English and Xhosa.
Zama Reading Club founder Gail Hawes said the books would make a big difference.
"Books are terribly important for kids. Each kid can now have their own book. You cannot really enjoy reading when you have to share.
"One of our NMMU [Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University] volunteers entered the competition for us, so it was a total surprise when we got them – it is fabulous," Hawes said.
"We had a big shortage of Xhosa books, and the kids enjoy reading in their own language. But it is important to read in both languages."
The club also provides meals for about 150 children every day.
"No one can concentrate on the books if they are hungry," Hawes said.
Avusa Education publisher Patti McDonald said the 2000 books were worth R340000.
"We ran the competition in the supplement and people had to send an SMS to enter. From there we had a random selection to choose the winners.
"We are thrilled that people are reading. We want more people to start reading clubs. It is a very enabling environment for a child to live in a world of books."
Readers who did not use the supplement were encouraged to donate it to schools or libraries, she said.