President Cyril Ramaphosa has his hands full dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but he also set time aside in the holidays to pursue the reading agenda alongside other South Africans.

Known for his love of books, Ramaphosa shared his 2020 Christmas reading list with the National Reading Coalition (NRC), which launched the South African Virtual Reading Club on the 14th December 2020.

At the launch of the South African Virtual Reading Club, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said, “Research indicates that South African children must improve in reading, which means even ourselves as adults have to start creating a reading nation. We’d like South Africans in their numbers to join and participate in the reading club.”

The top five books in President Ramaphosa’s list are; The Lie of 1652 — A Decolonised History of Land by Patrick Tariq Mallet; The Longest March by Fred Khumalo; Time is Not the Measure: A Memoir by Vusi Mavimbela; Pan African Pantheon edited by Adekeye Adebajo, and Blue Ocean Shift by W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

From the President’s list the NRC selected The Longest March, by Fred Khumalo as the book that it encourages South Africans to read in preparation for the January Virtual Reading Club session to be hosted on the 28th  January 2021, from 16h30 to 18h30.

Zoom Meeting Details:

Meeting ID: 382 289 8980

Passcode: vrc2021

Godwin Khosa, CEO of the NECT, said: ‘We have no option but to do all we can to catch up with other countries whose cultures of reading, and competencies, are far above ours. It is never late to cultivate a deep reading culture across the country’

During his State of the Nation address in 2019, Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of cultivating a reading nation to unlock opportunities that flow from a broadened understanding of the country and the world.

Since its launch in 2019, the NRC has supported Ramaphosa’s call and the DBE’s Read-to-Lead Campaign to improve reading nationally, from the classroom to the living room. Some of the partners of the NRC in this initiative are Nalibali, Room to Read, Fundza Literacy Trust, National Library of South Africa and Activate Change Drivers.

The nation is encouraged to register for the upcoming second session of the Virtual Reading Club by visiting – the session will be joined by popular Skeem Sam actor Cedric Fourie and by Randy Tsubane an award winning SABC broadcaster who are both avid reader themselves. They will share their experiences of the book and discuss their views with the participants via a facilitated session. Please join the session with your families. We particularly would like to involve more youth and children in these monthly sessions.


The National Reading Coalition (NRC) is a coordinating structure where all reading initiatives and interested stakeholders come together to promote reading. The NRC is coordinating the development and implementation of a comprehensive national reading improvement strategy. The NRC functions as an agile, self-sustaining network of reading initiatives.


The President’s Reading Circle answers the call by a champion reader, published author and President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, for South Africans to experience and live the joy of reading.

President Ramaphosa has consistently urged the nation to cultivate a love of books and reading that will open our minds and hearts to new ideas and unlock opportunities that flow from a broadened understanding of the country and the world around us.

The President’s Reading Circle brings together the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), National Reading Coalition (NRC), Department of Basic Education (DBE), Read to Lead, National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), the University of Johannesburg(UJ), teachers unions, local reading clubs and civil society in a social initiative intended to change lives and transform our society.