Swaziland's only independently-owned newspaper, Times of Swaziland, is supporting a campaign to promote reading in the country.
In an editorial on July 15 2013 the Times wrote that "the most hopeful news of the year may be the fact that the Reading Association of Swaziland is on a mission to raise awareness about reading".
The newspaper suggested that "Government can help by making books more easily available, through dropping taxes on importing books and subsidising importation and printing costs".
Swaziland's Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland), a free speech NGO, echoes the Times of Swaziland in urging the nation's leadership to do all it can to promote and encourage a culture of reading. Free access to books and all other reading material cannot be separated from free access to information. And access to information and freedom of speech are two sides of the same coin.
As the Times put so well, "Literacy is about more than just recognising words; it's about understanding the context in which words are employed. It is about relevance as well as sorting, analysing and digesting information. The simple act of reading is, basically, exercise for the brain in the same way that sports is exercise for the body".
Moreover, independent research shows that the more often you read to your children from an early age, the greater the positive effect on their reading and thinking skills.
Much research has also been done that shows how the economy benefits when citizens are better readers.
And click here to read a Canadian study on how reading can promote good health as well as civic participation