Black Positive People : Instead Of Begging, Homeless Man Reviews And Sells Books On The Streets


Well-Known Member
Jan 31, 2009
It's not a story about riches, but a man has turned reading and books into a way to make a living in a tough place to live.

On the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa, you may come across a young homeless man named Philani. Instead of the familiar sign asking for spare change, he has a stack of books beside him. He’s read every one and is glad to tell you what he thinks.

A picture of Philani and his books along with a small description has been making its way around the internet.


The picture, though, is always unsourced. In this age of memes and viral stories, it’s easy to become cynical about what you hear about online. This story is so uplifting, could it possibly be true?

Remarkably, it is.

A well-known South African filmmaker named Tebogo Malope came across Philani one day and was taken by his story and spirit. He decided to make a short documentary about the “Pavement Bookworm,” as Philani is known.


SA Source:

Videos by Tebogo Malope:



Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2011
Interesting, although the art of booksales is in buying wholesale and selling retail, much like most Black enterprises. I don't see this business and worthwhile for the homeless--it's hardly worthwhile for anyone.


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
The Martin Luther King Papers Project

“Advice for Living”
March 1958
Chicago, Ill.

Question: Do you think Negroes are partly responsible for their plight? They don’t stick together and they don’t help each other. Negroes, for example, will walk past a Negro- owned grocery store or shoe shop to get to a white place. Instead of trying to make themselves financially independent, most Negroes are trying to keep up with the Joneses. Isn’t it time for us to stop begging and stand on our own feet?

I quite agree that there is a great deal that the Negro can do to lift himself by his own bootstraps. Well has it been said by one that Negroes too often buy what they want and beg for what they need. Negroes must learn to practice systematic saving. They must also pool their economic resources through various cooperative enterprises. Such agencies as credit unions, savings and loan associations, and finance companies are needed in every Negro community. All of these are things that would serve to lift the economic level of the Negro which would in turn give him greater purchasing power. This increased purchasing power will inevitably make for better housing, better health standards, and for better educational standards.

....complete here:

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