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January 2023
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Reading the Toastmaster Together

Zimbabwe group inspires others to gain knowledge from the monthly magazine.

By Laura Amann


Woman in pink outfit holding up glass for a toast with digital background
Dorothy Chanakira, DTM, one of the founders of Toast and Read.
“WomanViola Dondo, DTM, one of the founders of Toast and Read.

Two creative Toastmasters have convened to host a monthly online meeting that functions much as a book club does—drawing inquiring individuals together to read, discuss, and learn. And in this case, the latest Toastmaster issue is the topic of discussion.

Toast and Read was created in 2021 by Viola Dondo, DTM, and Dorothy Chanakira, DTM, both of Harare, Zimbabwe. Each meeting begins with a toast to Toastmasters International. The agenda is simple—participants take turns reading magazine articles out loud then sharing opinions, thoughts on how the stories relate to their own lives, and how they might benefit others.

Dondo and Chanakira started the group to inspire people to read more, and discover the useful information and stories one might miss in the magazine. “Since the magazine is monthly, we thought we could meet every month and explore the gold we believe is embedded in the magazine,” says Chanakira.

“We wanted to remind Toastmasters that ‘leaders are readers,’” adds Dondo. “By reading either the magazine or any other good material [people will] develop as leaders.”

The meetings often feature guest readers or highlight special occasions. Division and Area Directors may visit. Former International President Richard Peck, DTM, visited and read one of his magazine “Viewpoint” columns, and the 2022 World Champion of Public Speaking, Cyril Junior Dim, visited and read his profile story. On World Poetry Day, the group read a magazine article on poetry and read some of their own poems to one another.

The duo hears from many members who enjoy the monthly reading sessions. “These sessions inspire them to read more,” says Dondo.


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