Homeless Man Gives Kids Free Books To Encourage Them To Read

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This homeless man is exactly why you should never judge a book by its cover.

Philani Dladla, a 24-year-old who lives on the streets, doesn’t look like someone who constantly has their nose in a book. However, he’s earned his name the “pavement bookworm” – a nickname given to him by South African filmmaker Tebogo Malope and has become well-known all over the world for his unconventional methods of supporting himself while homeless.

Instead of begging for money like most people living on the streets, Dladla instead reviews books, and has discussions about authors with passers-by to earn an income.

Malope came across Dladla last year in Johannesburg when he did a sidewalk interview with the homeless man. In the interview (shown below), Dladla spoke about books and what a positive influencing reading can have on anyone. Malope posted the interview, and since then Dladla has gained international popularity and fans that visit him to chat about literature.


Although Dladla sells the books he has to adults, he always gives books to children for free. Dladla says:

“They can still take this reading thing and turn it into their habit. Their lifelong habit.” [source]

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Dladla confesses that although he loves to read, he is thankful for the habit for another reason. By reading self-help books, he was able to save himself from drug addiction. Now, he hopes to encourage others to read in his daily engagement with people. He says:

“Reading is not harmful. There’s no such thing as harmful knowledge. [Reading] is only going to make you a better person.” [source]

Dladla’s legacy is proof that you don’t have to have millions of dollars to make a difference.

“You don’t have to be rich to change the world. Start with the little that you have. If you inspire one person you’ve already changed the world.” [source]

If you’d like to donate books to the pavement bookworm, contact Tebogo Malope on Facebook.