Called the “Pavement Bookworm”, he may look like a roadside panhandler, but this once homeless man is actually running a reading foundation that has now been recognized by South Africa’s president.
Philani Dladla credits his love of books, specifically motivational ones, with breaking his drug habit.
Now that he’s clean, he has dedicated his life to being of service to others.
Today, he can be found selling used books to passing motorists—but only after he’s read them first. That way, he can give passersby a book review and set the price accordingly; from a dollar for books he doesn’t like, to six dollars for real page-turners.
While still homeless himself, Dladla began using the money to buy other homeless people soup and bread every day.
“Seeing their smiles motivated me to keep using the little I had to spread happiness,” Dladla said. “From that point on, I knew I never wanted to go back to being a drug addict.”
No longer homeless, he still feeds those on the streets, and even started a “Pavement Bookworm” Book Readers’ Club in a local park where kids can hang out and read until their parents come home from work.
He has also set up a website where people in Johannesburg, South Africa can donate books or support a child in the reading club.
(WATCH the CCTV News video) — Photo: CCTV video — Story tip from Joel Arellano
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