How a guy known as 'Pavement Bookworm' sold his knowledge to turn his life around

When Philani Dladla found himself homeless on the streets of Johannesburg, he wanted to do more than just ask strangers for money to get back on his feet.

He wanted to try something different.


Image via CCTV Africa.

Dladla decided to see if he could sell his knowledge instead.

"I thought I could be different and actually give people something worthwhile — like a book or book review — in exchange for money," he writes on his website.

He knew he had plenty of them to give. He'd loved reading since he was young, and was once left with almost 500 books when a family friend passed away. In a bind and on the streets years later, he went for it.

Image via CCTV Africa.

Dladla began selling books and book reviews to the people he encountered day to day. He soon became known as "The Pavement Bookworm" around the streets of Johannesburg. Today, he's considered a worldwide inspiration.

Selling book reviews turned out to be more than a unique approach. It helped Dladla lift himself out of poverty and drug addiction.

"While selling books I realised how much money I was wasting on getting my next fix," he said. "With some self-motivation and a lot of self-help books, I made the decision to stop taking drugs."

That's some serious motivation. Bravo!

Image via Tebogo Malope.

He was able to get back on his feet, and now he's making sure that others stay on theirs — especially underprivileged kids.

"I started using the extra income from selling books to give free books to underprivileged children," he said. "In doing that, I started the Book Reader's Club for the kids in Joubert Park."

He formed his own book club, you guys! The Pavement Bookworm is on a roll.

"I want to be able to help young kids reach tertiary education without having to worry about finding the money. Too many kids lose their way after high school — many of them turn to drugs, alcohol and crime. I want to change that."

By the sound of it, he is helping to change that. The next chapter of his life is off to a very positive start.

The Pavement Bookworm sure knows a lot of stories, but I think the most inspiring one of all is his own.

Strangers gave him a chance, and he delivered and saved himself. It shows the power of reading, the power of learning, and the power of believing in yourself and in others.

Hear more about it and share the happy vibes in this great CCTV Africa feature:

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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