Sunrise Educational Publishing – Looking back over 2023

This December sees @chrissielewis and me eighteen months into our new business as #publishers. Having been authors contracted with #LongmanZimbabwe and #PearsonEducationAfrica, it was a big step to start publishing the #SunriseReaders ourselves.

With the closure of #PearsonEducationAfrica, we were given the opportunity to buy our Intellectual Property (the #SunriseReaders.) We succeeded, due to excellent advice from others in the business world and publishing industry, and efficient practical service by local book-keeping firm, #TMKSolutions. They guided us through registering the company and becoming registered for VAT and export.

I turned 70 last year – so this has been a huge learning curve at an “interesting” age! However, apart from administrating this company (still too small to employ anyone else), my co-author (and co-director of #SunriseEducationalPublishing) – @ChrissieLewis – and I have revised and published two new books from the start to the finish: #SunriseReaders Book 11 (Let‘sbeHappy) and Book 12 (#HousesandHomes).

We have printed and successfully marketed 9 000 copies of both of these books (Over 276 000 books in all since we started last year). Our longtime market for 35 years has been in Zimbabwe. We are privileged that the #SunriseReaders have formed the backbone of literacy in Zimbabwe these past years, and continue to do so. The market in Zambia is growing, with the #SunriseReaders approved by the Zambian Ministry of Education as well, and sales increasing every year. This year we have begun to work with distributors in Botswana and Mozambique.

 We are now turning attention to the education sector in South Africa, this being our mission for 2024. (Due to trade restrictions existing between #PearsonEducationAfrica and #PearsonEducationSouthAfrica, the hashtag#SunriseReaders have not been marketed in South Africa to date.) So far, three local #TheWriteShoppe branches, and #TheBookPeople have sold #SunriseReaders. Four NGOs have discovered the #SunriseReaders, using them in their after school literacy programmes – the feedback has been inspiring! There is a shortage of multicultural reading schemes with relevance to the context and environment of the children of Africa. Four schools and some home-schooling parents have come on board these past few months. It’s a beginning!

We find that having fixed philosophical business principles has kept us stable and focussed. For example, Principle One: High volume of sales, low profit margins! Literacy in Africa is our passion, and the #SunriseReaders are a mass-market product. Our profit margins are sufficient only to cover our costs and revise one or two new Sunrise Readers a year.

So – to everyone starting out in business – it’s never too late to take a bold new step! If your passion drives you – it will be difficult to fail. Chrissie and I are passionate enough about literacy to make personal sacrifices, and to work, work work!

Very best wishes to you all, and God bless.


  1. Moya Michalakis on April 3, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    Congratulations on your publishing business, Vivian. I came across your story whilst browsing the internet.
    We were at primary school together (Riverside) when you were Vivian Ogden and I was Moya Brayshaw.
    I am now in New Zealand where I have been in a different type of publishing for 26 years—transcribing print books to braille, but mostly music scores to braille music.
    I wish you continued success in your business,
    Moya (Michalakis)

    • Vivian Jenkins on April 3, 2024 at 7:39 pm

      How wonderful to hear from you, Moya! I definitely remember you. I loved Riverside School and was so sad to move across to CJR for Standards 4 and 5! I’m so impressed with your work! So unique and important, making such a difference for the precious people who struggle with sight impairment. We live in Cape Town – such a beautiful place to be. Right now, I hear the ocean swooshing and hissing in the darkness! I wish you continued success and blessing in all you do too!

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