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Reading Africa

The Center for the Book, the African Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division in the Library of Congress and the children's librarians of the D.C. Public Library sponsored "Reading Africa," at the Library of Congress on Feb. 8, 2005. The program featured brief talks by Lorato Trok, the co-director of the South African Centre for the Book's award-winning "First Words in Print," and Joseph Lekuton, author of "Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasi on the African Savannah."

Map of South Africa, 1996 Pat Oliphant, creator. "Everything Is Under Control - Go Back to Your Designated Shanties and Slums!," 1980.

In September 2004, the South African Centre's "First Words in Print" project won the 2004 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, which is administered by the International Board on Books for Young People. The project is a program that distributes books to children and provides support and guidance to caregivers as they explore ways to share books with the young.

Trok's and Lekuton's inspiring remarks about their efforts to spread literacy in South Africa can be viewed from the collection of webcasts from the Library of Congress. They discuss their heroic efforts to bring books and a culture of reading to black Africans amid the legacy of apartheid, which is still being felt 11 years after the first all-race elections of 1994.

Several extraordinary historical accounts of life in South Africa are available in the American Memory Web site of more than 130 thematically organized presentations. There is David Livingstone's "Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa" published in 1858. Also noteworthy is "The Life of Africaner : A Namacqua Chief of South Africa," circa 1849.

A. Map of South Africa, 1996. Geography and Map Division. Reproduction information: Call No.: G8500 1996 .U51. Contact:

B. Pat Oliphant, creator. "Everything Is Under Control - Go Back to Your Designated Shanties and Slums!," 1980. Clashes between police and mixed-race (called "colored" in South Africa) demonstrators in the depressed outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, on June 16-18, 1980, led to 30 deaths and 174 injuries. Police had banned crowds from observing the fourth anniversary of the 1976 Soweto race riots, but demonstrators turned instead to a commemorative work boycott. A police official acknowledged that they had "shoot to kill" orders for arsonists, looters and other "violent hooligan elements." The intense rioting of coloreds surprised many South African whites, who had thought of them as allies against the blacks. From the exhibition "Oliphant's Anthem." Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.

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