Most homeless resort to panhandling to make ends meet. However, an enterprising young South African man has come up with an interesting alternative - he spends his days spreading the joy of reading and selling books written by his favorite authors. Meet Philani Dladla aka 'Pavement Bookworm'.
While details of how the 24-year-old was rendered homeless and how long he has been selling books on the streets of Johannesburgare a little sketchy, the young man garnered the world's attention recently, thanks to an interview conducted by South African director and cinematographer, Tebogo Malope.
In the two-part mini-documentary entitled 'Pavement Bookworm' the infectiously cheerful Dladla talks about his passion for books and how reading helped steer him away from a life of drugs. The well-spoken youngster also talks about his favorite authors and clearly articulates what makes him a fan of each one of them.
Not surprisingly, after Malope uploaded the 'Pavement Bookworm' video on YouTube, the Dladla has become a celebrity. In addition to being interviewed by other journalists, he has also received several job offers and even a visit from Steven Boykey Sidley, the author of Entanglement, who hand-delivered his latest book to the voracious reader.
The best part is that this newly found fame has resulted in a business boom. Locals now go out of their way to seek Dladla for impromptu book discussions and, to buy his recommendations. What's heartwarming is that despite being barely able to make ends meet, Dladla does not accept money from children that are interested in getting a book from him. In order to keep up with the increased demand, Malope is collecting book donations on behalf of the cheerful young man whose mission in life is to spread his passion for reading!