Our vision is that LITASA 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.


LITASA 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

  • encourage the use of ICT to promote multiple literacies in all dimensions.


In 1999, South Africa was asked by the International Reading Association (IRA) to host the first Pan African Reading for All conference in Pretoria. It was there that Prof Janet Condy, our founding member, was asked by Dr AruaArua from Botswana (the chair of International Development Countries – Africa) to be the South African representative.

In 2001, the 2nd Pan African Reading for All conference was held in Nigeria. At each subsequent conference a small group of familiar faces began to develop and it became obvious that other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana had reading associations linked to the IRA, but South Africa did not.

In 2003 Prof Condy was invited to attend the 3rd Pan African Reading for All conference in Uganda, including the leadership workshop prior to the conference. It was here that she was encouraged to begin a reading association in South Africa.

With the help of Brenda Townsend of IRA, Lydia Abel, Mastin Prinsloo and Shelley O’Carroll were identified as members, all of whom lived in Cape Town. What followed were all the tasks needed to set up the association such as the development of a name (the Reading Association of South Africa), logo, constitution and opening a bank account. Once that was all completed, the organisation was registered as a Non-Profit Organisation with the Department of Social Development which was completed on 17 August 2004.

RASA was officially launched at the first conference in 2004. The conference was an amazing success – 150 delegates from all over South Africa attended and the enthusiasm and support received was astonishing.

The second RASA conference was in 2006. It was at this conference that Prof Condy realised it was time for RASA to expand its boundaries beyond Cape Town. Since then the organisation has developed four branches around South Africa – KZN was launched in 2008, Gauteng in 2009, Eastern Cape was 2010.

The saying goes that change is the only constant. A decision was taken at the National AGM in September 2016 to change RASA’s name to LITASA, the Literacy Association of South Africa, in line with global trends and thinking within the field of literacy. We honour our past as RASA and everything it has given us and we look forward to our transformation and a bright future!

The founders of RASA at the 2004 launch