The Big Issue #283

  • 20 February – 19 March 2020

Ready, read, rise

Author, screenwriter and television producer George R. R. Martin once said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” When Taryn Lock and her husband Athol Williams founded Read to Rise, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities, it was to see the broader society being able to live multiple lives through reading.

‘Who needs a leg?’

When Thabo Dube lost his leg in an accident, permanently shattered. But creativity kicked in and he began telling his story through the manufacture of leather bags. Thabo’s brand LETZ stands for ‘Live every day till Z’. He tells me it is a personal mantra that has comforted him throughout a long physical and mental journey. It is his reminder to fully embrace each day, right up until the last second.

Pangolins. Will they become the dodo of our generation?

World Pangolin Day, which was on 15 February, marked an important date in celebrating an enigmatic mammal species that is on the verge of becoming extinct. We find out why.

It is estimated that the African pangolin has existed for over 40 million years. Yet as you are reading this, you may be asking yourself: “But what is a pangolin?” Many people have never heard of them – let alone seen one in real life. Sadly, this enigmatic species could become extinct before most people even realise they exist, due to a slew of factors threatening their survival.

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More from this Issue:


  • All
  • Agents of Change
  • City Life
  • Feature
  • News

Nature’s inspiration

A blank canvas has unlimited possibilities.” – Stephanie Perkins

Florence Gondongwana

Known for her smile and friendly wave between cars, Big Issue vendor Bongiwe Mqhakayi is one remarkable woman. She shares some of her aspirations for 2020.

Ready Read Rise

Inspiring non-profit organisation Read to Rise is creating opportunities for children in impoverished South African communities to broaden their horizons through reading.

“Who needs a leg?”

When Thabo Dube lost his leg in an accident, permanently shattered. But creativity kicked in and he began telling his story through the manufacture of leather bags.

Pangolins. Will they become the dodo of our generation?

World Pangolin Day, which was on 15 February, marked an important date in celebrating an enigmatic mammal species that is on the verge of becoming extinct. We find out why.

Time of invention

Business Insider South Africa has named the most “exciting South African inventions” of the decade, and students, staff and alumni of the University of Cape Town (UCT) feature prominently on the list.

Ntombekhaya Phandle

Big Issue vendor Ntombekhaya Phandle looks for the silver lining in daily challenges. Her positive attitude has earned her the title of vendor of the month.

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