Many people believe that their background has an impact on who they will become in life. Young people (especially those born and bred in the rural areas) sometimes feel that their current situation will keep them from reaching their goals. But one 19 year old has shown that you can rise above your circumstances, with a little help from a good book.
Fezikile Cokile grew up in Mdantsane township in the Eastern Cape. A lack of resources is the main challenge that faces youth living in areas such as these. Computers are pictures that are only seen in magazines. Children are taught that a “library is a place where books are kept,” but the chances of setting foot in one are very slim.
But some people, like Cokile, work even harder in these circumstances and do not blame their backrounds for not acheiving their goal in life.
The day Cokile entered the library doors, was the day in his life that he will never forget.
What happened at the library ?
There were never any books at Cokile’s home and according to The Times, his first visit to a library happened at the age of 13. This visit gave him the inspiration to have his first book published at the age of 19.
A copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which he found in the children’s section of the library, made him fall in love with writing, with English and with the author, JK Rowling. He is quoted saying: “I love that woman. I read her book and loved it, and I think that is what sparked my interest in writing.”
Cokile carried his dream quietly in his heart until he reached grade 9 at Mdantsane’s Nyameko High school.
The Times states that, two years after he found the publisher’s address on the tittle page of a library book, he wrote his first novel, Stolen Moments. This was followed by another manuscript, Dusty Life, last year. Both were unfortunately rejected.
But, as the expression in isiXhosa goes : “Umntu uvuna obekulimile” (Meaning “A person harvests what he/she has planted”), Cokile’s hard work eventually paid off.
How did he rise above rejection?
The fact that his first two novels were not published, didn’t kill him, but made him stronger. He knew he was good at telling stories and he never felt that his dreams of becoming a writer were shattered. That is why he took up his pen again and did what he is passionate about.
His dream became a reality when his book, Wish Upon A Star, eventually made its appearance on the shelves of bookshops. He is very excited about this and we will probably hear a lot more about this talented young man in the future.
The importance of literacy and reading among youth was the reason for the launch of the Western Cape Education Department Family Literacy Project. Extensive and in-depth research shows that the literacy and numeracy levels of grade three learners are far below what is required of them to learn and develop effectively.
The Family Literacy pilot programme was initiated in 11 Adult Education and Training (AET) centers in the 28 priority areas within the Western Cape. Each center produced a report highlighting the structure of the center and programme, outcomes achieved, challenges and lessons learnt. Creative Consulting & Development Works conducted research to consolidate the information from each AET center. The outcome of this research was a comprehensive consolidated provincial report.
Have you ever read a book that really touched your life? Tell us about it in the comments section below.