A Big Welcome to Rally to Read’s Two New Ambassadors

Rally to Read is incredibly proud to welcome two new ambassadors: Emmanuel Taban, an award-winning lung doctor and pioneer in the treatment of Covid-19, and Barney Mthombothi, a former FM editor and now a famous newspaper writer.


At age 16, Taban escaped Sudan when his father died in the civil war and spent two years on the streets of Eritrea. After being rejected by an uncle in Kenya, he continued south, eventually reaching SA. With the help of charities, he re-started his education, becoming a doctor and then a pulmonologist. His story is told in his autobiography, The Boy Who Never Gave Up. Last year, Taban was named one of the 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine.

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Former Financial Mail and Kwazulu-Natal-based Sunday Tribune editor Barney Mthombothi previously headed-up SABC News. He is a respected political analyst. His academic achievements include a Reuters Fellow at Oxford in 1986 and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1994.

Taban and Mthombothi both share Rally to Read’s unwavering commitment and devotion to promote literacy at grassroots level, in remote rural schools across South Africa. 

“We are extremely privileged and honoured to have Dr Taban and Barney Mthombothi as our Rally to Read ambassadors,"


says Brand Pretorius, Rally to Read's Co-founder and Chair of the National Organising Committee.  

"We appreciate their willingness to join hands with us, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship to bring optimism and improve the future of our youth in this country."


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To date, Rally to Read’s programme has reached over 1000 schools by visiting selected Rally schools to provide books, teaching aids, educational equipment, and more. The Rally also includes three-year teacher training, classroom support, and mentoring. This training is provided by SA’s leading education NGO, READ Educational Trust, which then monitors the progress of children and teachers.

Since Covid-19, the need for Rally to Read has expanded. Rural education has virtually ceased in many places. Teaching has been difficult without electricity, let alone computers, with parents fearing packed classes.

Rally to Read’s faculty ambassador programme is critical to developing our global footprint by spreading our message within sectors and into regions that need it most. 

Taban and Mthombothi bring a range of diverse skills and innovative approaches, complimenting the immense talent of our growing faculty ambassador team.


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Fund the dream alongside us!

Are YOU moved to contribute towards Rally to Read, to promote literacy in a country where the average 14-year-old rural child has a reading age of seven? The Rally needs your donation, no matter how small. Know that every cent you give, will go a long way in promoting literacy in the rural areas of our country, where it’s needed most! Help them keep the Rally dream alive and fuel the literacy vision to new heights!

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