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twelfth BBT Africa Conference Offers Inspiration, Strategies for Book Distribution


About 170 e book distributors, temple presidents, GBC members, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust employees and devotees normally seen the 12th Annual BBT Africa Conference, held on-line and broadcast at https://www.youtube.com/c/BBTAfrica on Saturday November sixth.

Speakers from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Mauritius participated within the three-hour convention, which is a platform for an change of concepts and techniques on all issues of e book distribution, publication, and innovation. Inspirational tales, successes and finest practices from throughout Africa are additionally shared.

The first Annual BBT Africa Conference was held in 2010, the yr after the African division of the Global BBT was established with Jayadvaita Swami because the then Trustee. Pre-Covid, the conferences have been held in particular person in group halls in several African international locations, with at the least 150 to 200 devotees attending every time. As properly as ISKCON leaders, African politicians and thought leaders additionally spoke.

BBTA Conference Mauritius

Group photograph on the 2013 BBT Africa Conference in Mauritius

“After every convention, we usually see a 20%  e book distribution improve within the nation the place the convention was held,” says present BBT Africa Trustee Govardhana Das. “People begin to distribute books who by no means have earlier than, and there’s higher dialogue and appreciation.”

This yr’s convention started with a gap assertion by Jayadvaita Swami, Emeritus Trustee of BBT Africa. Due to Covid, the GBC just lately resolved that celebrations for Srila Prabhupada’s 125th anniversary would proceed on from 2021 into 2022. Since e book manufacturing and distribution was so pleasing to Prabhupada, Jayadvaita Swami stated, we might do properly to focus our efforts in these areas if we want to do one thing particular for his 125th anniversary.

Next Bhakti Chaitanya Swami, GBC for South Africa and Mauritius and present GBC Chairman, welcomed all of the devotees, re-emphasizing that of all issues expensive to Srila Prabhupada, e book distribution was the dearest. Thus, Maharaja defined, such conferences the place devotees talk about e book distribution and encourage one another to distribute books are critically vital.

BBTA Conference Ghana

The 2014 BBT Africa Conference in Ghana

Govardhana Das, who can also be the GBC for Southern Africa and a Global BBT Trustee, then talked about The Work of the BBT. Starting at a worldwide stage, he identified BBT efforts such because the Bhaktivedanta Archives, which preserves Srila Prabhupada’s legacy; Copyrights, which retains all Prabhupada’s precious copyrights; and Back to Godhead journal, which Prabhupada began in 1944 and which continues to be in print as we speak, with 1 million copies a month in India and 15,000 bi-monthly all through the remainder of the world.

Govardhana then spoke concerning the urgency with which Srila Prabhupada labored to print literature, even earlier than he got here to the West. Then in 1967, only one yr after he included ISKCON, Prabhupada stated that because the Ramakrishna Mission, the Bible Society and different organizations had their very own printing presses, ISKCON ought to have its personal too. When German devotees shaped a press in 1969 and referred to as it “Radha,” Prabhupada preferred the identify and stated that since Radharani is the very best, topmost servitor of Krishna, and the press was the largest present medium for serving Krishna, the press “is known as a consultant of Srimati Radharani.”

Govardhana concluded his speak by mentioning that BBT Africa’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is in isiZulu, spoken by round 12 million individuals in South Africa, is now within the preprint stage. He additionally reported that numerous books have been being translated in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, for the primary time ever. As there are usually not but any devotees in Ethiopia, Govardhana defined, this exhibits how ISKCON expands by means of Prabhupada’s books.

Mukundanghri Das, Chief Operating Officer of BBT Africa, then confirmed analysis on what Africa will appear to be over the following 30 years, when it comes to inhabitants progress, economic system, languages and other people, indicating that Africa has a variety of potential for elevated e book distribution. He emphasised the necessity for innovation within the rising space of digital platforms to achieve the plenty. And he cited the accountability of the present ISKCON and BBT management to be pre-emptive and strategic in growing a 2050 plan for the good thing about successors.

“There are 2,100 languages in Africa, and solely 13% of the African inhabitants converse English,” Govardhana says. “So there’s a variety of work to be achieved.” So far, BBT books are printed in 20 African languages.

Next was a panel session on Africa’s Opportunities: Innovation in Outreach facilitated by Aghari Krishna Das of the African BBT, with South African Minister for Book Distribution Vibhu Chaitanya Das; Dwarka Vasini Dasi, one of many greatest e book distributors in East Africa; and Prem Vilas Das, a serious e book distributor in Mauritius. The group mentioned the challenges of distributing books throughout Covid lockdowns, and shared progressive methods, comparable to distributing books on Takealot, South Africa’s reply to Amazon; and the way South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya distributed 260 Bhagavatam units on-line through the Bhadra Purnima marathon.

Innovation in Outreach panel

The Innovation in Outreach panel on the 2021 BBT Africa Conference. Top left: Aghari Krishna Das (USA), backside left: Prema Vilas Das (Mauritius), prime proper: Vibhu Chaitanya Das (South Africa), backside proper: Dwarka Vasini Devi Dasi (Kenya)

The Preaching Paradigm: Discrimination and Preaching adopted, facilitated by Bhaktin Bontle Tladi, a college lecturer, South African National Council member, and African BBT volunteer. She was joined by Navina Radhika Dasi, head of selling in Cape Town; Harideva Das, zonal secretary for Mauritius; and Umapati Das, regional secretary for East Africa.

This group mentioned find out how to attain the inhabitants in areas with low literacy charges, and the significance of creating books inexpensive (BBT Books are offered at value worth to native individuals in Africa, as instructed by Srila Prabhupada). They additionally talked about find out how to be culturally delicate in line with the area whereas distributing books, which incorporates each presenting Krishna consciousness in a relatable means, and publishing books with applicable covers.

The Preaching Paradigm panel on the twelfth Annual BBT Africa Conference. Top left: Bhaktin Bontle Tladi (South Africa), backside left: Umpati Das (Kenya), prime proper: Haridev Das (Mauritius), backside proper: Navina Radhika Devi Dasi (South Africa)

Finally, in “What is the Difficulty with French Books?” Mukundanghri Das, Carudesna Swami from Cote De’Ivoire and Govardhana Das mentioned find out how to resolve the difficulty that the African BBT presently doesn’t have a BBT license to print French books, though 32 of Africa’s 53 international locations converse French. “The French language that’s here’s a completely different dialect to the one spoken in France, so we can’t simply import books,” Govardhana says. “So the BBT Africa is negotiating to get a license from the Global BBT to print French books on African soil.”

The 12th Annual BBT Africa Conference concluded with three resolutions: to resolve the French books difficulty; to notice adjustments in demographics in Africa; and to supply a method for the following ten to twenty years on find out how to attain these demographics.

“Overall, these conferences create camaraderie, an open-door-policy, and free change of concepts between the African BBT and the devotees and temples it serves,” Govardhana says, “So that collectively we will discover one of the simplest ways to ship out Prabhupada’s books.”

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