READ has been blessed with a group of people who are our READ Ambassadors. They promote literacy and the love of reading and books through visits to schools, mentions on social media, and in the mainstream media. We are very grateful to them for their support of South Africa’s children.
Our READ Ambassadors are:
ACTRESS OF OUR TIMES
Grethe Fox has worked as an actress in over 60 theatre productions, 18 television series, 10 TV dramas, and 9 feature films. She studied both at UCT Drama School and the Jacques le Coq Theatre and Mime School in Paris. Grethe has received 16 nominations for theatre performances, won a Vita Award for her role in Women in the Wings, and earned six Best Actress awards for her work in film and television.
This exceptional local actress has been a sincere campaigner for Readathon since becoming an Ambassador in 2012, helping to spread the tenet that ‘The more you read the more you know.’ The Readathon campaign helps to develop a culture of reading and highlights the importance of literacy at schools – and indeed everywhere, since our future depends on it.
AN INSPIRING EDUCATOR
Thato Tholo is one of those rare people who is both an intellectual and born communicator. Although he has a BA (Hon) in Business Studies, he also has a passion for the entertainment industry.
Having worked his way up on radio from presenting a kiddies’ programme to hosting weekday prime time slots on Jozi FM, Thato landed a television job on the country’s first community television channel, Soweto TV. Shortly after, he got the life-changing opportunity of being part of a highly-rated youth show on SABC2 – Hectic 9, as the programme’s regional presenter.
Apart from having done voice overs as well as radio and television presenting, he is a strong advocate for education and reading, which is why Thato was appointed a national Readathon Ambassador in 2012 and the reason he is so successful at it.
TAKING LITERATURE TO THE DANCE FLOOR
Ntsiki Mazwai, the author, musician and poet, is well versed in the value of the Readathon tenet – ‘The more you read the more you know.’
A pioneer in the construction of what she terms “Spoken Music”, Ntsiki has influenced dance music producers to collaborate with poets to create club hits – a phenomenon she describes as “taking literature to the dance floor”. She has worked with the cream of local musicians, including DJs such as Kent, Euphonik, Fresh, Guffy, Bantu Soul, Mahoota, Mbuso and Dr Duda.
In her spare time she mentors young poets and does an annual charity drive to collect books and blankets for orphanages. Ntsiki takes her Readathon ambassadorial role seriously – a role she’s cherished since 2012 – imbuing South Africa’s youth with a love of literacy that starts with books then dances into their hearts.
ROLE MODEL EXTRAORDINAIRE
Hlubi Mboya first made her impact on South Africa when she took on the role as Nandipha Sithole in Isidingo, and has not looked back since.
A multi-talented woman, Hlubi is a Social Justice Activist and philanthropist with a thriving television career and takes on formidable physical challenges. She is currently appearing in Rhythm City, has appeared in Strictly Come Dancing, and co-hosts Future CEOs on Cliff Central Com. She is also a Jeep Team Athlete and part of Team Evox Elite!
Although not a professional model, Hlubi’s beauty and charm have graced the covers of a number of South African magazines, including True Love and Elle.
Land Rover South Africa named her one of the Range Rover Evoque City Shapers – people who are influential in their cities and have interesting points of view which people listen to.
As a Readathon Ambassador, Hlubi is constantly active in helping to lift the curtain on illiteracy. Her vibrant personality always brings great excitement to the children she meets in schools through Pop-up Libraries and other Readathon activities. She is a brilliant role model.
RENEILOE ‘NAY’ MABENA
YOUNG AUTHOR WRITES HIS FUTURE
When a 17-year-old has a book published, you know that this is a serious talent. With Reneiloe ‘Nay’ Mabena’s first book, Blaze – the beginning, being taken up by a top South African publisher, Porcupine Press, READ Educational Trust believed that this boy, born in July 1996, would be a perfect role model for the children of South Africa. And so Nay became Readathon’s youngest Ambassador.
His interest in writing developed while he was still a little boy and his love of TV and anime stirred his need to combine these media and create something unique. He started drawing comics and at age 12 the inspiration for Blaze came to him. The book is a masterpiece of imagination, starring a teenage boy possessed by a demon which has both malevolent and redeeming powers, forcing the boy to face a dichotomy of difficult choices.
Since the launch of Blaze – the beginning in October 2013, the young author has revealed a rare passion for life and while spreading the need for literacy in South Africa, has inspired hundreds of youngsters and created a formidable fan following.
Nay matriculated from St David’s College in Inanda, Johannesburg, in 2015. Here he completed the St David’s peer counselling programme, a course aimed at assisting students facing difficulties within and outside the school environment. Not only did this provide him with the skills needed as a counsellor in his matric year, it also made him an excellent Readathon Ambassador, especially when acting as a keynote speaker at the organisation’s events.
As Reneiloe ‘Nay’ Mabena is not yet 20, who knows what the future holds. Will he become an animator, study law, or turn out to be a full-time author? Whatever his ultimate career choice, there’s no question that this young man is destined to continue making his mark.