Port Shepstone-born Philani Dladla turned his life around with books and shares the story of how his insatiable desire for knowledge saved him.
The 26-year-old says he was first introduced to literature by his mother's former employer at the age of 11.
Dubbed the Pavement Bookworm, Dladla used reading to liberate himself after battling with school, suicidal thoughts, drug addiction and homelessness.
Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:
Growing up was difficult for me. I was raised by a struggling single mom and my father was not there. We sometimes would not know what we would eat.— Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm
My mom got a job and her employers took me in when I was suffering of malnutrition. They fed me and took care of me.— Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm
On my eleventh birthday my mom's late boss gave me "The last white Parliament" by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert to read. It was hard, but he promised me more books if I finished it.— Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm
When I got kicked out of my apartment I could only take a few clothes and books.— Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm
I decided to use my knowledge and share it while making money.— Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm