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Inspiring girls with stories of South African Women

On Saturday, 30 August, thirty authors, illustrators, and editors will collaborate to write ten biographies of extraordinary South African women in one day, with editorial assistance from learners from Manenberg who are part of the Rock Girl Resilient Girls programme.
In September, these girls will distribute biographies to learners around the Western Cape, encouraging them to both read and to follow in these women's footsteps. The books will also be available online as part of the Rock Girl Wonder Women project, a World Design Capital initiative that will see statues of some of the women featured in the biographies installed around Cape Town.\

Freely available books

Book Dash is a voluntary organisation that creates open-licensed children's books with top creatives. "We believe every child should own a hundred books by the age of five," says Book Dash founder, Arthur Attwell. "In South Africa, that means giving 600 million free books to children who could never afford to buy them - this is a goal that can only be reached collectively." All Book Dash books are freely available for any person or organisation to download, translate and distribute, according to a Creative Commons license.

Rock Girl is a grassroots organisation, founded by grade 5 learners from Manenberg in 2010, that creates safe spaces for girls, and for everyone.

Distributed to schools

The autobiographies will be created in just 12 hours at the Cape Town Central Library. The event is sponsored by SAIDE, The African Storybook Project, and Rock Girl, with the support of Five for Change, and with in-kind donations from Hemelhuijs, Spier Winery, La Cuccina, Pick and Pay, and with the support of World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 and the Cape Town Central Library.

The books will be distributed to schools around Cape Town, and the Rock Girl learners will visit schools to read the books to younger learners.

Volunteers, sponsors, and literacy organisations can find more information on the Book Dash website at or the Rock Girl site at