South Africa's 'Pavement Bookworm' Might Be The World's First Homeless Street Librarian

June 20, 2014: This 24-year-old’s profession is not what you would expect from a homeless person.

South African Pavement Bookworm

The story of Philani – the South African Pavement Bookworm – is wonderful and inspiring. When he wakes up on the streets of Johannesburg, he doesn’t beg and he doesn’t do drugs. Instead, he sells books to commuters. Sometimes, on request, he will also review the books, the authors and the publishers.

South African director, cinematographer and storyteller Tebogo Malope is well-known for the stories he tells. He discovered the unknown and unlikely bookworm and wanted to share it with the world.

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“He has read all the books in his collection and is always seeking for more to read,” says Tebogo. “He then sells some of his books as a way to raise money for himself and some of his homeless friends. I’m appealing to anyone that can contribute somehow into his life.

“He’s a great role model on the power of reading and can be an amazing ambassador for our young people.”

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Philani’s story began when he managed to rescue himself from drug addiction by reading self-help books. He appreciated the value of books and their impact on our lives. From then on, he continues to spread his passion every day.

In his video interview, he tells us that “reading is not harmful. There is no thing as harmful knowledge.” His favorite author is John Grisham because “he touches on social justice and I think that’s the one thing lacking in the world”.

Check out his video interview below:

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