The latest effort from the African branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust – which has been publishing ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s books in various African languages since 2009 – is the e-magazine “Imprint.”
The magazine, which released one issue last year but is becoming a regular quarterly with this November’s issue, is intended to communicate all the latest developments of the BBT Africa.
The hope is that this will enliven grassroots book distribution and improve communication between BBT Africa and its distribution channels.
The first issue of Imprint, back in September 2013, announced the launch of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Lecture (BSL) series, a BBT Africa outreach initiative to profile Srila Prabhupada as an author and reformer and engage with various leaders in academia, government, commerce and philanthropic work.
It also reported on the BBT Africa conference, which moves to country to country annually and will be held in Accra, Ghana this year, its fifth.
BBT Africa's new headquarters at ISKCON Sandton
Meanwhile the current issue of Imprint, released in November 2014, has announced eight upcoming titles in Afrikaans, Amharic, Swahili and English.
It also reported on young African devotee Mukundanghri Dasa’s appointment as a new trustee for BBT Africa, giving hope to succession in the future. Mukundanghri, who is serving as a program innovation strategist, has already created and organized the Bhaktivedanta Swami Lecture Series and is managing a new African Authors Initiative.
Another major development is BBT Africa’s move to a new headquarters in Sandton, an affluent part of the Johannesburg metropolitan area. The new offices, which share property with ISKCON Sandton, are nestled in a beautiful, peaceful oasis of greenery, and should be highly conducive to productivity.
Most exciting of all is the increase in book distribution. Imprint reports that 10,969 books were distributed across just seven African countries in September 2014, while BBT Africa General Manager Govardhana Das tells ISKCON News that 12,634 were distributed in October.
Of course, the upcoming December marathon will represent the peak of book distribution for the year – during last year’s, Dvaraka Vasini Dasi and her team in Kenya alone distributed over 55,000 books.
African devotees are gearing up to pass out even more this December, with a goal to increase the year’s overall book distribution by 20% over 2013.
Special BBT Africa book distribution ambassadors in nine countries across the African continent will help by leading their own teams and inspiring local temples and preaching centers to do the same.
There’s Srivasa Das in Ghana; Carudesna Das in Ivory Coast and Togo; Utpala Das in Nigeria; Dvaraka Vasini Dasi in Kenya; Bal Nitai Das in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Murari Das in Malawi; Devaki Nandan Das in Botswana; and Navina Radhika Dasi in South Africa.
“The book distribution scene is very vibrant now,” says Govardhana. “And the response is quite positive from the African people. This is not only indicated by increased sales, but also by personal testimonials from our book distributors.”
Under writer Aghari Krishna Das and editor Bhaktin Wendy Romig, Imprint will continue to report every three months on the latest African titles in production; the efforts of the Sastra Dana program to place Prabhupada’s books in libraries; and the efforts of the book distribution ambassadors.
Future issues are also expected to report on the expansion of the BBT Africa team with young devotees from ISKCON South Africa’s university outreach program, and on new branch offices for the ambassador program that will manage the BBT Africa’s publications in various local languages.
“With a succession plan in full swing, where we’ll work with ISKCON South Africa to provide a fully functional training academy for applied spiritual leadership in various sankirtana activities, it looks like BBT Africa’s future is very bright,” says Govardhana.[ africa ] [ bhaktivedanta-book-trust ] [ book-distribution ] [ book-review ] [ sankirtana ]