Penny Lebyane on celeb reading drive: 'In America, they have a similar campaign'

TV and radio personality Penny Lebyane said a mouthful about people who were against the 'book club'.
TV and radio personality Penny Lebyane said a mouthful about people who were against the 'book club'.
Image: Supplied

Penny Lebyane is tired of the #CelebritiesAreNotTeachers online mob and has taken to Twitter to not only defend herself and the reading club initiative, but let Mzansi know that American celebs are doing a similar thing for their people.

Critics took to Twitter on Monday to accuse the department of basic education of “sidelining” qualified teachers and educators by recruiting celebrities and influencers including Penny, Pearl Modiadie and Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo for the lockdown digital school.

In a statement on Twitter, organisers Africa Teen Geeks said that only qualified teachers and student teachers were recruited for the programme, and celebrities were just part of a reading club for children between grades R and 3.

Penny has been defending herself against the naysayers, and on Tuesday felt it necessary to show Mzansi that American entertainers were also doing the same thing.

She shared an interview Trevor Noah did with actress Jennifer Garner, where they explained why they began a similar project to #ReadingClub.

However, one of her followers told her to give it a rest, lest she attract more backlash on herself.

I won’t. I did nothing wrong. I support a great initiative that means well and it's for a greater good,” Penny said.

The TV and radio presenter also gave a stern warning to industry colleagues who were sub-tweeting her during the whole #CelebritiesAreNotTeachers saga.

“The sub advice, misinformed comments from some celebrities, managers and PR people is really weak. Why don’t you tag (me) us since you are so interested? Come out in the open so I personally see you. Hiding behind mobs is that how u operate in #2020? OK. #OnebyOne come to me. Cowards,” she said.

Veteran TV presenter Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, who is based in America, also suggested the idea of a reading club by actors, and Penny felt it necessary to explain what had happened when the idea was launched in SA.

“It won’t work here mama, the celebs are not educated enough. You have to be a qualified teacher according to Twitter to read for their children and even if they volunteered the assumption is you are taking people’s jobs and if you made a mistake doing it they say it will damage their children. Sorry,” Penny replied.

Read the rest of their conversation below.