Our vision is that RASA will be an internationally recognised organisation dedicated to empowering and helping all its citizens to be literate and to be able to develop to their fullest potential.
RASA will consistently endeavour to provide the platform for expressing views and leading discussions to achieve our vision. We will:
- Take a proactive stance to encourage and motivate all South Africans to become literate;
- Contribute to the production of knowledge through applied research;
- Lobby the national government to prioritise literacy above all else;
- Promote partnerships with all organisations, such as government, business and society to view literacy as a tool for overcoming the social ills of poverty, crime and social dependency;
- Develop and support reading and language coaches in schools and universities where they can provide leadership to their local school reading programmes;
- Ensure quality teacher preparation training programmes in all institutions throughout South Africa; and
- Encourage the use of ITC to promote multiple literacies in all dimensions.
Click here to view the RASA Constitution
INTERNATIONAL LITERACY ASSOCIATION
A SHORT HISTORY OF RASA
In 1999, South Africa was asked to host the first International Reading Association (IRA) Pan African Reading For All conference in Pretoria. It was there that I was first introduced to full time staff members of IRA such as the president of IRA - Carmelita Williams and Brenda Townsend. At that time Dr AruaArua from Botswana was the chair of International Development Countries - Africa and he asked me to be the South African representative.
In 2001, the 2nd Pan African Reading For All conference was held in Nigeria. With each of these conferences there were a few of us that kept showing up and it became obvious that other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana had Reading Associations linked to IRA but not South Africa.
In 2003 I was invited to attend the 3rd Pan African Reading For All conference in Uganda and the Leadership workshop which was the weekend prior to the conference. It was here that I was encouraged to begin a reading association in South Africa. The advice I kept being given was ‘start small’!
My first task was to identify a few IRA members, who were prepared to take the first few tentative steps in beginning a reading association. With the help of Brenda Townsend of IRA, we identified Lydia Abel, MastinPrinsloo and Shelley O’Carroll all of whom lived in Cape Town which made meetings easy. Our next tasks were to develop a name for ourselves – RASA - and a logo. Since we were all based in Cape Town the logo was made of books that looked like our famous Table Mountain and we all loved it!!
The next major jobs were to develop a constitution and a bank account. Prof Joshua Madumulla, from Tanzania, had given me a copy of his constitution at the Leadership Conference in Uganda and together with a lawyer we adapted it to fit our situation in South Africa. A final copy was sent to Brenda in the IRA office for their approval and ratification. Once that was all completed we needed to register our organization as a Non-Profit Organisation with the Department of Social Development and this was completed on 17 August 2004. Our first RASA bank account was opened with only R1000 in it.
We launched RASA with our first conference in 2004. Our first conference was an amazing success – we had 150 delegates from all over South Africa and the enthusiasm and support that we received was astonishing.
Our second RASA conference was in 2006. It was at this conference that I realized it was time for RASA to expand its boundaries beyond Cape Town. Since then we have developed four branches around South Africa – KzN was launched in 2008, Gauteng in 2009, Eastern Cape was 2010. Today we rotate the national conferences amongst the four branches and in 2015 we will be celebrating our 10th RASA National conference!
Founding RASA member
RASA is registered as a Non-Profit Organisation
RASA is a chartered affiliate of the International Reading Association