“If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” ~ Cicero
I almost didn’t open this link.
The title of the article, “This 24 Year Old Homeless Man Doesn’t Beg for A Living…he Gives Book Reviews” made me think of every other, “Hey look at this surprising poor person!” story I have come across.
When I see these stories I cringe. The assumption that wealth equals knowledge and that poverty must then equal ignorance —or laziness—is an assumption that has allowed systems punishing the poor to flourish for centuries.
After watching, and thinking, I decided to write.
I decided to write for two reasons.
First, if a headline like this, a headline that plays to stereotypes and assumptions, surprises or moves us to the point of wanting to read it must mean we need to keep having a conversation about the reality and nature of poverty in today’s world.
Second, the beauty of the message has nothing to do with where he sleeps and if he happens to be one of the tens of thousands without work in South Africa (the countries unemployment rate rose to 25% in 2014, amongst the highest rates in the world). The beauty lies in his love and passion for the written word.
He gives free reviews on children’s books to share his passion with younger generations. He knows the ins and outs the corners and cracks of every story. For him a street corner can be a place to sit and travel in time and place when he opens a book. And he reminds us that, “There is no such thing as harmful knowledge.”
“Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.” ~ Indira Ghandi
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Editor: Emily Bartran