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Friday, December 13, 2019


(Right: JJ Madwe & Richard Nzima , two of the book vendors working with The Denis Hurley Centre’s innovative Street Bookseller project. Pic by Illa Thompson)

The Denis Hurley Centre is appealing for donations of books to support their innovative Street Bookseller project – known as Street Lit.

“Street Lit is the Denis Hurley Centre project to help homeless people by giving them the chance to sell second-hand books. We hope soon to get permission to sell on the beachfront over the Festive Season and we therefore need a lot more books - fiction and non-fiction, adult and children's books,” says the DHC’s Raymond Perrier.

“It is the perfect social cohesion project – and a perfect passion project for this season. We would love donors to write a little message in the book about themselves and what they thought of the book which can be read both by the homeless person selling the book and ultimately the person buying it – allowing the message of goodwill to travel through the retail chain of the books gathered and sold,” he said.

Street Lit was the only KZN finalist and came in the top six nominees out of 2,000 applicants nationwide at the SAB Foundation Awards recently.

The DHC’s Street Bookseller project has enabled 10 formerly homeless people to become entrepreneurs selling second-hand books at events, malls, places of worship and literally on the streets of the city. The goal is to train and empower 100 sellers. This project simultaneously provides work for unemployed people and enables people to buy and read books in an accessible and affordable way.

In order for this project to be fully realised, additional funding will be required, so the generous grant from SAB has sparked an awareness-creating campaign and fund-raising drive. The centre intends to run a competition to find the most innovative ways to modify shopping trolleys to become portable pop-up book stands. They will also need to purchase a vehicle to transport vendors and books.

The Centre can access an almost unlimited supply of high-quality second-hand books – but needs the help of the public to do so. There are places to trade, people desperate to sell, and public are eager to buy. Durban has been created a city of literature by UNESCO, but almost 60% of South Africans don’t have a book in their home. This project addresses these opportunities and can transform a beggar into an entrepreneur.

Do you have books at home that you no longer want?  Do you have boxes cluttering up your garage?  Do you want to clear some space before Christmas?  If you give us the books we can transform lives; the alternative is that books are just pulped for waste paper which is tragic

“We have 12 convenient drop off points around the city. If you have a large donation, contact us and we will come and collect from you,” says Perrier..

Drop off points are:

- St Dominic’s in Hillcrest: 1 Mill Road, Hillcrest. Linda 031 765 1741 /
- Our Lady of Mercy in Kloof: 79 Old Main Road. Thembi 031 767 0101/
- All Saints in Ballito: 61 Townsend Road. Stephen 032 946 2905 /
- iCare in Mount Edgecombe: 57 Hambridge Avenue, Somerset Park. Shirley 031 572 6870 /
-Grace Church in uMhlanga: 400 uMhlanga Rocks Drive. Dave 031 575 9300 /
- Our Lady of Fatima in Durban North,:155 Kenneth Kaunda Road / Northway. Anna 031 563 5390 /
- Musgrave Methodist: 237 Musgrave Road. Jan 031 201 2005 /
- St Josephs in Morningside: 21 Florida Road. Rose 031 303 1905 /
- DHC: Paddy Kearney Way. Jean Marie 031 301 2240 /
- iCare 53 Stamford Hill Road. Shirley 031 309 4960 /
- Manning Road Methodist in Glenwood: Cnr Lena Ahrens (Manning) and Moore. Nathi 031 202 8262 /
- St Francis Xavier on the Bluff: 21 Sormany Road, Brighton Beach. Pat 031 467 0524 /

Donors are requested not to give books directly to booksellers since they will struggle to transport them.