WATCH: Cape Town poet uplifts youth through literacy projects

Athol Williams has obtained six university degrees both locally and internationally, and now he's heading to Oxford University for his PhD. Video: eNCA

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town-born poet is on a mission to inspire South African youth to reach greater heights.

Athol Williams (47) has already obtained six university degrees both locally and internationally. And, now, he's heading to Oxford University for his PhD.

Originally a businessman, his focus soon shifted to public service, starting an NGO "Read to Rise" that promotes literacy in schools.

The project provides books to schools and public libraries around Cape Town and Soweto.

"I wanted to find a way to make an impact on their lives. It's sort of this idea that I wanted to be free but if others aren't free, I'm not really free," said Williams.

READ: We shall not live by bread alone: International Literacy Day 2017

"I found it to be almost hypocritical in a way to have come from where I did of growing up in Mitchells Plain, now living a lavish life while others around me were struggling and suffering. And so I wanted to find a way to make an impact on their lives."

Williams said it is this realisation that prompted his further studies. He was invited back to Oxford to complete his PhD in Political Philosophy.

"I understood that we needed structural change in our society and that's where my studies came in where I went to study public policy, public management and political philosophy."

"It will enable me to bring to life some of the ideas I've got around how we can have a greater society, how people can live lives through which they can fulfil their human potential."

Once his studies are completed, Williams plans to start an international scholarship fund for South Africans to study overseas.

 

eNCA

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