In the context of South Africa, building a reading culture in all languages in a formidable task. The JBF strategy for the next 10 years is therefore to:

  • Mobilise a diverse movement of readers, writers and artists ‘from below’, one that encourages self-education and solidarity and is intergenerational and gendered.
  • Strategically focus on creating readers and writers amongst children and youth in the next 10 years, as purposeful bearers who, in turn will catalytically deepen the reading and writing culture amongst people of all ages, especially in their homes, schools and communities.
  • Work within the spaces in which the working class is reproduced, both physically and ideologically on a daily basis – in homes, churches, cultural and social organisations, and communities and townships.
  • Provide a public platform for individuals, organised formations and public to encourage debate and discussion and thereby build tolerance and strengthen civil society.

As part of realising this strategy, in the next decade the JBF has a special focus on work among schools (children & youth), out-of-school youth and youth organisations. The focus includes developing writers among the youth, publishing youth writing, setting up newsletters and magazines to feature youth writing, creating platforms for youth performance and arts, fostering and supporting youth cultural networks and developing social consciousness and leadership among youth.

The strategy is predicated on the understanding that the majority of South Africa’s population is young, and that a strategy of building and defending spaces for debate must build a culture of debate among the youth. As part of this perspective, the JBF therefore seeks to create a strong culture of reading, writing and debate among youth.

  • A focus on youth as the core of the strategy in the next decade is also important for the sustainability of the JBF and its work of defending and advancing spaces for the regeneration of egalitarian philosophies.