“Books are essential for freedom… For a nation reading is a gateway to a different, better future,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Youth Engagement Harare Library in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
“[Books] allow a person to break free from the chains of ignorance and intolerance… Literature is a powerful tool for social dialogue, cohesion and nation building.”
Although the country had many good libraries and writers, only 14 percent of South Africans were active book readers, he said.
“A mere five percent of parents read to their children. We must change that.
“There should be no substitute for books in the lives of young people. Our youth must be addicted to reading, not drugs, alcohol or izikhothane [showmanship] culture.”