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South African author encourages reading for children

September 22, 2011

William Gumede, a South African writer, recently began writing children's books to both encourage children in South Africa to embrace literature and to share and preserve the rich history of African folklore.

When he was growing up, he remembers that reading was discouraged because it wasn't manly, and he often suffered for his passion for the written word. He told the Los Angeles Times that apartheid played a major role in discouraging South African people from reading, and that, even though it ended roughly 17 years ago, there is still a negative stigma surrounding books and literature in the nation.

"We've got so much to tell," Gumede told the Los Angeles Times. "There's so much potential in building an indigenous market here, with the growing middle class here and across the continent."

Gumede's first children's book, "A Kite's Flight," is the story of a kite that breaks free from its string and travels across Africa before the father-son duo who built it track it down and fix it. Gumede told the news source he used to fly kits when he was a boy and would imagine all the places in the world that he would've liked to visit.

People can make calls to South Africa to read this and other bedtime stories to their young loved ones.

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