Re­vival of read­ing

ChinAfrica - - Africa Report -

“It has cre­ated tremen­dous ex­cite­ment, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple,” Jelle said. “So­ma­lia is still suf­fer­ing from the civil war. You see many young kids still car­ry­ing guns. The child sol­diers don’t want to go back to school and the il­lit­er­acy level is very high.” Ac­cord­ing to the African Union Mis­sion in So­ma­lia, So­ma­lia has one of the low­est lit­er­acy rates in the world with only 37.8 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion be­ing lit­er­ate.

“The read­ing cul­ture started go­ing down. But the MBF has brought read­ing back to young peo­ple. There was a turn-up of about 2,000 peo­ple mostly in their 20s and 30s. The fu­ture lies in the hands of the young peo­ple and they want to be part of the book fair. That in­spired me,” Jelle added.

Jelle calls the MBF the new face of So­ma­lia that So­ma­lis would like to show to the world. “So­ma­lia is known as a place full of ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lence, guns and ex­plo­sions. No­body ever be­lieved 2,000 peo­ple would come to­gether to talk about books. The MBF pro­vided a new im­age, gave us a new iden­tity. We be­came an ex­am­ple to other African coun­tries,” she noted.

The MBF, held in the City Palace Ho­tel on August 17-19, gath­ered over 30 au­thors, scholars and life coaches from So­ma­lia, East Africa with

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