Video: Pavement book seller brings books to the suburbs

Book seller Fiston Ngunga, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, poses for a photograph at his book stall which he calls "Books in the Park", 5 January 2021, on the sidewalk at Albert Street in Weltevreden Park, Roodepoort. Ngunga has been selling books in this location since November and is in the process of getting permission from the council to continue trading. He loves books, claiming to read 6 books per month. Picture: Michel Bega

“President Cyril Ramaphosa encourages children to read and this location is bringing books directly to the community, making it easy for them to find what they are looking for,” says Fiston Ngunga.

Arriving in South Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo 10 years ago, Fiston Ngunga struggled to find work – but his passion for literature led him to purchase a bookstall three years ago, and now is able to professionally share his love for reading, says the man who personally reads up to five books per month.

Ngunga has struggled to find a permanent location for his voluminous stall and is currently trading on the pavement outside the Hillfox Value Centre in Roodepoort.

Passing pedestrians are lured to browse his large collection and he is quick to use his knowledge to entice them to make purchases.

“I am providing a service here for the community,” says Ngunga. “President Cyril Ramaphosa encourages children to read and this location is bringing books directly to the community, making it easy for them to find what they are looking for.”

Ngunga has been trading there since November last year and has been visited more than once by the metro police, but he is in the process of securing permission from the local council to trade from the pavement.

With literally hundreds of books on the roadside, Ngunga confesses to having even more in storage, and lives by the motto “if you name it, we will find it”.

He is hoping for some assistance from government to make the location more permanent with some roofing to protect his books.

Book seller Fiston Ngunga poses for a photograph at his book stall which he calls “Books in the Park”, 5 January 2021, on the sidewalk at Albert Street in Weltevreden Park, Roodepoort. Picture: Michel Bega

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