A lot of the things haunting the world now need the young people to be well read.
Information about Covid-19 for example is new and changing everyday and needs society to read the latest WHO or government guidelines to avoid the pandemic.
Sadly we have still recorded many cases amongst young people especially after schools reopened with dozens of pupils testing positive in certain schools.
The reading culture needs to be reintroduced into the youths.
The Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) is one exhibition that used to help encourage young ones to buy books and create a reading culture.
Sadly, from the years surrounding the peak of the economic depressions, around 2008, the Book Fair lost either its glamour and appeal or its audience – or both.
Students used to attend the book fair with a view to personally meet their literally heroes like Chirikure Chirikure, Albert Nyathi, Shimmer Chinodya . . . the list is long.
Chances are such opportunities are still but no one cares anymore.
It was a culture, a decade ago and beyond, for students to mark their calendars foreseeing a great week at the Harare Gardens where they will be treated to some great entertainment, cheap literature, one-on-ones with their literary gurus – generally, a lovely time where they got to mix learning and socializing with their peers from different schools.
Add the colourful handouts that were often given for free to youths who attended the Book Fair by the different exhibitors like folders, pens, gift bags, free literature . . . and you have a lovely-yet-beneficial time out for the Zimbabwean youth.
With Covid-19 such opportunities have not been there but again with social media, almost every writer or publisher is available to converse with but students do not know much about them.
What the powers behind ZIBF and other stakeholders need to do is go out to schools and tell students about the opportunities available to them should they nurture a reading culture.
Many scholars do not even know what is going on around the world because they do not read newspapers.
The other options would be to take advantage of the media – from radio to television to the print media – and promote a reading culture.
A reading culture needs to be developed and then passed from one education stream to the next, from one generation to the other because the benefits of reading can never be outrun by time.
No amount of technological advancement or changing times can ever replace reading’s importance to the young.
Knowledge has always been printed in those books, newspapers and other different forms of literature that are available to the youths.
Promoting a reading culture can be the panacea to many problems haunting mankind.