Couch Cat: Reading is ‘FUNdamental’

11 October 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
Reading = success. Those who do not read will fail to compete and thrive. Parents out there, do what it takes to open the magnificent world of possibilities to yourselves and your kids, by reading.
If you master reading, you can be a good/great writer. Your grasp of concepts will be easier. You will be innovative and imaginative.
Books are vessels of knowledge. Teach your kids to never tear pages out or scribble in books (unless they are meant for that). Respecting a tome shows an appreciation for learning.
People who cannot read are condemned to darkness. They must be taught to read as a priority! Age doesn’t matter – People are never too old to learn.
Those who CHOOSE not to read are something else. These people are empty. They live their lives only hearing and reacting. They are just like dogs who can be taught to go fetch, sit or lie down. These people prefer ignorance to enlightenment.
I am not only talking about reading novels. It is equally important to read and understand instructions, maps, textbooks, labels on products, reports, legal documents, and research. I include reading poems and song lyrics on my list. Being able to read and understand (they go together) is the basis on which human beings progress.
Many struggling Namibian families find the money to pay school fees. They support their children in university or training schools. This must be encouraged and cheered. However, paying for education is not enough. Make sure there are books in your home. Parents must also read as an example to their children. Tell the little ones from the cradle until they move out, that reading = success.
Books have always been in my life. They took me to Africa when I was six years old, never realizing at that time that I would eventually live most of my adult life here.
Books made me love wizards, orbs of power, evil orcs, flying dragons and colourful fairies, magic spells, talking trees and heroic adventures to save the world from evil. Mythical stories taught me to imagine.
While reading stories, I flew (in my mind) on airplanes and visited amazing world locations long before I actually went to over 50 countries so far in my life. I read about the Great Wall of China in the 6th grade, before I was blessed to visit that awesome historical landmark a few years ago.
Reading about the Mona Lisa, Monet and Manet, Henry O Tanner, Augusta Savage and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel opened my mind to artistic talent and beauty. This happened decades before I ever had the opportunity to visit these great masterworks. Viewing beautiful art and reading about the artists, cleanses my soul.
I devoured many biographies and historical books by the time I was five years old and in the first grade. I enjoyed reading Bible stories, Greek mythology, all the Dr Seuss books, Winnie the Pooh and about little Madeline.
And yet, I also was entranced by biographies of General John Pershing and the lives of all the Caesars. By eight years old, I had read stories about Nebuchadnezzar, Abraham Lincoln, Simon Bolivar, and Otto von Bismarck among others. I still read biographies about people who survive many challenges. Books taught me to be inspired by others.
My dedication to fighting against racism, sexism, political oppression and injustice was affirmed in books I read. These books include: the Ox-bow Incident, To kill a mockingbird, I know why the caged bird sings, Their eyes were watching God, the miseducation of the Negro, the Souls of black folks, For whom the bell tolls, A raisin in the sun, Animal farm, 1984, The rise and fall of the Third Reich, Lord of the Flies, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Autobiography of WEB Dubois to name a few.
I read Battlefront Namibia in college, never imagining that I would end up living here.
I enjoyed the youthful whodunnit detective and mystery stories of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown. I graduated to Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Harry Bosch, DI Rebus and a host of contemporary fictional detective stories including Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana.
The world of books has also been a refuge at times. Going ‘away’ to another place can offer a short respite from a painful real world.
Let the bright world of stories and information, broaden your life. There was a TV ad campaign when I was a child. It said: Reading is ‘FUNdamental’. And, it is.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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