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12th March 2024

Pros team up with Jonsson Workwear as they go from reading greens to support reading in rural schools

JOHANNESBURG – Professional golfers read a lot of yardages. They read greens. They even read the weather. But quite a few of them are also very much at home reading a book, and they were more than happy to support the Rally to Read initiative at the Jonsson Workwear Open at Glendower Golf Club last week.

As part of Jonsson Workwear’s Birdies for Purpose, every birdie, eagle or albatross the professionals made in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour event saw the company donate R100, R500 and R1000 respectively to its official tournament charity – Rally to Read.

A total of R262 000 was raised, with the cheque handed over to Alupheli Sithebe, the Deputy Chairperson of the Rally to Read National Steering Committee.

Rally to Read was launched in 1998 as a public-private partnership to help improve the language, literacy and communication skills of learners at selected disadvantaged primary schools in remote rural areas following an international survey of 43 countries in which South Africa finished last with 81% of the country’s Grade 4 learners unable to read for meaning in any language.

“Jonsson Workwear have been critical to the programme. The consistency of their support allows the ongoing long-term partnerships that the schools need. It’s hard to change the capacity of a school in a year to elevate their literacy capabilities, so having the consistency of support from Jonsson Workwear means we are able to see that process through,” said Sithebe.

Jonsson Workwear’s support has helped the initiative reach 925 schools, 15 000 teachers and 620 000 learners. This year alone, 60 schools, 22 096 learners and 564 teachers will benefit from Rally to Ready support.

“We’ve been involved with Rally to Read for over 20 years, and several years ago we became the lead sponsor. It’s an incredible initiative and there is such a dire need for it in our country. We thought this was another way we could highlight the amazing work they do and assist them with funding, and we’re thrilled to have done that this year,” said Nick Jonsson, Chairman and CEO of Jonsson Workwear.

It’s an initiative Sunshine Tour professional Peter Karmis can relate to as one of the most avid readers on Tour.

“I generally read at tournaments. I find it gives me something to look forward to. I’ll even read during rain delays. It also helped me a lot when I played in Asia. Reading is essential. You gain knowledge and perspective.”

In terms of his own reading preferences, Karmis says he’s focused on fiction at the moment.

“I’m reading a lot of novels at the moment. I love non-fiction but 12 months ago I decided to read novels. I was inspired by my daughters who go to the library all the time and come home with 13 books. I’m currently reading the Italian author Valerio Manfredi. And I’ll be honest, I love the Jack Reacher books. The problem with the Reacher books is that I get too into them. So at a tournament in Zimbabwe, one night I was reading this really tense part and I kept reading. I think I only got about three hours sleep that night, which is not great for tournament preparation but I loved it.”