Lessons learned and a plan to “Find Your 70” - a personal account by Jenny Taylor


It is clear to me, in the words of Max Ehrmann in Desiderata “that the universe” and therefore Read For Africa “is unfolding as it should”.

Have you ever wondered how one company could call itself Read For Africa and then seriously go about teaching Africa to read?

This is a question that consumed and puzzled me for many years.

It was always clear to me that the Phono-Graphix Reading Programme would be the methodology of choice, but what was not clear was how the few thousand practitioners, trained in Phono-Graphix in South Africa, including me personally, would ever be able to make a big enough impact on the entire continent.

The wait is over. Read For Africa has a simple formula, the final piece in the puzzle, which also involves you and a plan to


This number came about when a speaker from Kenya, Oscar Muriu spoke at a Global Leadership Summit that I attended a few years ago. He reminded us of the “finding your 70” analogy where good leaders don’t try and do everything themselves, but rather identify budding leaders, tag them, and transfer their DNA over to them. He reminded us that these budding leaders are right under our nose, but that we’re often too busy to see them. 

Read For Africa’s “70” is made up of the 7 initial trainers and mentors we have worked with from the start, at least 1 person in each of the 9 provinces and 1 person in each of the 54 African countries. We may not have all 70 people's names, but at least we know where to look for them and as we find them, we then have to trust that each of these people will in turn find "their 70".

And so the leadership engine will roll on year after year and from generation to generation until every child and therefore adult in Africa can read.   


For the first time in my career, I had a huge sense of relief as I came to realise that teaching Africa to read is not solely my or Read For Africa’s responsibility.   It is all of yours.  

I therefore invite each of you to think through what “finding your 70” means to you and how you can multiply your impact exponentially ….  

You have already been inspired by Read For Africa or what we have stood for if you are reading this story. If you’ve attended a Read For Africa course, you’ve most likely taught several people to read using Phono-Graphix and may have a few more to go to reach “your 70”. You may be a parent or a friend of a person who you supported through the process of learning to read and are now an enthusiastic Buddy Reader. You may be a learner who couldn’t read and now inspires others. You may be a funder who has sponsored our programmes or plan to do so in the future.  You may be Les Tupper who has designed all of our logos and artwork for the last 17 years or Graeme at Razostyle Web Solution who helps us reach many more people via our website. Or Busi at Jetline in Parktown who manages all our printing. Or Cheryl Koekemoer, our book keeper who keeps track of things behind the scenes.
Whatever your title or designation - you have an opportunity to “find your 70”. Teach 70 people to read. Finance or find funding to sponsor 70 children to attend reading lessons, or 70 teachers to be trained. Introduce 70 teachers, parents and/or other practitioners to Phono-Graphix. Buy 70 books for children or adults who don’t have access. Encourage each proud owner of their new book to read it or share it with 70 other children or adults in their community.

If you take a few minutes to reflect – you may already be well on your way and can also start ticking off “your 70” and use this template to document it.

The good news is that you have the rest of your life to make up the balance of “your 70” and inspire each of those people to find “their 70”.

Thank you for being a part of this vision and for sharing this milestone with us!
Jenny Taylor  - Read for Africa - Providing ABETter Solution since March 2000

Click here to find out how this vision evolved and continue to read this
very personal account of how all the pieces finally came together and
how I plan to find my 70 trainers in Africa!

Download a template like this here to start documenting your 70


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