Inspirational people: The Pavement Bookworm

pavement bookworm

Backcover: The  Pavement Bookworm narrates the journey of Philani Dladla’s life of drug abuse and homelessness. It is a universal and familiar story of a wayward boyhood with a redemptive ending. Philani recounts his story with unforgettable clarity as he begins to offer a glimpse into one of South Africa’s growing societal ills – the increasing number of homeless people popping up under our cities’ bridges and pavements. Few books capture the frantic desperation of addiction and life on the streets as well as Philani’s does.

Philani’s salvation comes in the form of books, which allows him to conquer his shame, transform his life, and dedicate himself to changing the lives of children in the Johannesburg CBD. Philani starts his passage to redemption by selling book reviews and ultimately books at the corner of Empire and Yale roads in Johannesburg. To stop himself from doing drugs he invests the money he saves into buying books and starts a book club for under-privileged children. Today he has established the Pavement Bookworm Foundation which collects and distributes books and stationery for these kids.

Philani’s dream for this book is for it to land in the hands of at least one soul in need of salvation, just like his first book, a gift from his mother’s employer at the age of 12 that would later save his life.

First published: 2015


It’s always hard to review a book about someone’s life. If you say it was poorly written or you say it was a brilliant read what exactly does that mean? If it’s the first does it mean the person is a failure and his book is another failed attempt? And if it was brilliant: was it so because you enjoy reading about other people’s failed attempts at life?

This is not a failed attempt. Philani is an inspiration because he accomplished so much with so very little. He believes in the education of his people.

This book will make you feel ashamed of yourself. It gives you a look inside the mind of a person who had to live on the streets.  A person that conquered drugs and suicide to become the person he was always meant to be. Well done, Philani!


19 DECEMBER, 2013 – Philani Dladla sits on Empire road in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, next to the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), selling and reviewing books to passerbys in their cars. Picture: DANIEL BORN © THE TIMES


About dada4nonsense

I am a 23 year old (at heart) who loves anything nonsensical

Posted on February 14, 2016, in Book Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Inspirational people: The Pavement Bookworm.

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