Opening of the ninth Mandela Day container library on 7 September, 2011
The ninth Mandela Day container library officially opened on 7 September, 2011 in Valspan Primary School, Jan Kemp Dorp in the Northern Cape Province. Debbie Beukman from Breadline Africa attended and wrote the following report.
We were at the opening of the Mandela Day container library at the Valspan Intermediate Primary School. Driving up to the school you could not miss the container library as it stood proudly in the school yard. At the school we were met by members of the Soul Buddies Club. The Soul Buddies members went to show us the library and kept on telling us, that they could not believe that this was happening in their school.
Ms Ruth Mangwegape (Principal) of the school said she always wondered what the Soul Buddies where about and what benefit they could have for the school. Today she is very proud of the Soul Buddies Club and their achievement and she knows that the other learners appreciate the members and strive to be like them.
Through this library in the school the teachers want to encourage and motivate the learners to read. Mr Zulu from the School Governing Body stated that adults should motivate their children to read as through the books stories are told, not just the “learning” stories they have to know for school but all those stories from their different cultures, which they one day can relate to their children.
Ntswaki Phale (Soul Buddies Facilitator) thanked all the sponsors who made the library possible. She specifically thanked all her Buddies for their hard work in the school and in their communities and for making the library a reality.
Mr Frank Meintjies, the co-ordinator of Mandela Day, motivated us all to not just give the 67 minutes only. He called on learners, as beneficiaries of the Mandela Day ethods, to in turn giveback at home, at school and to their communities.
He referred to the saying: “Readers make leaders”. The question raised was when and where can we read?
“Learners can read to their parents and parents to their children. Even if you as parent cannot read, your child can read to you and you as parent can retell the story to your child. The library is for every learner, teacher and parent and need to be used to its full potential, ” he said.
Thembi Tyuku from the Soul City Institute thanked all the learners, teachers and parents for attending the opening and encouraged the learners to never underestimate small beginnings. The Valspan Soul Buddy Club is the best in the Northern Cape and encouraged them to keep up the good work.
Debbie Beukman from Breadline Africa said a special thank you to all the sponsors individually, as without them, such a beautiful library in a school such as Valspan Intermediate Primary would not have been possible. (A special thanks to NYK, CellC, South African Airways, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Legal Wise, Maskew Miller Longman, Soul Buddyz Club, Biblionef and Hivos SA).
Mr Motswana from the Phokwane Municipality, which covers Jan Kempdorp, reported that in the area specifically relating to the school there was a 30% unemployment rate, only 9,8% of the learners pass at matric level and 6,7% move on to Higher Education. Some 41,2% of the people in the area receive child grants.
This reflects a low unskilled labour force. Hopefully this library and the role it plays within this community would make a change in the Valspan area. He encouraged the learners, teachers and parents to take pride in their library and use it to its full potential.
Mr Mothibi encouraged the learners to read as in Finland they have the highest Educational Rate in the world with the ratio of 1 teacher to 5 learners. Singapore is number 5 in the world with the teacher learner ratio being 1 – 50. South Africa needs to strive to be one of the best educational systems in the world and encouraged the learners and teachers that it is within their grasp to achieve such statistics.
The handover of the library was done by Debbie Beukman (Breadline Africa) to Thembi Tyuku (Soul City Institute) who in turn handed over to the Mr Mothibi who presented the container to the schoolprincipal Ms Mangwegape.
All the learners of the school took a turn moving through the library and their smiles spoke for themselves. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.
The next three Mandela libraries will be opened in the Eastern Cape on 29 and 30 September, 2011.