Students who love to read inspire opening of Mandela Day library at North West school

  • Uploaded on 3 December 2012

Friday 30 November marked the opening of the 21st Mandela Day Container Library at Kebinelang Middle School in Manthe village (near Hartswater), in the North West province, five hours west of Johannesburg.

The long drive didn’t deter representatives from container library sponsors BLA, Standard Bank and Puo Publishing, who together with community members and learners gathered in the marquee and eagerly anticipated the opening ceremony.

It was clear for all to see that the container library had been awarded to a deserving school. The school’s Soul Buddyz reading club, wearing their bibs and outfits, assembled outside the library proudly, undeterred by vicious whirlwinds that swirled within the school grounds. Learners then welcomed guests with a passionate performance of song and dance.

The dynamic programme co-ordinator, Mr Mpshe, welcomed and introduced the guests. He cited his shock at discovering that, in some areas, Grade 6, 7 and even Grade 8 learners are unable to read and write. He commended the Soul Buddyz facilitator, Mrs Teheben, for having spent countless late nights at the school working with her reading clubs learners.

“Her perseverance, determination and hard work in obtaining a library has paid off today,” he said.

Mrs Teheben then gave a quick history of how the school has strived to make a difference every year. She spoke about how she began her work with just one reading club, which has grown to four reading clubs in the past four years.

She spoke about the challenges of facilitating reading clubs without a library, yet this had not deterred her. She spoke proudly about how her prayers had been answered, as the school now hosts a container library learners can call their own.

Puleng Phooko, of Breadline Africa, thanked the partners that had made the dream of a container library at Kebinelang Middle School possible. She mentioned that although circumstances did not allow representatives from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, LegalWise, Help2Read and Soul City to attend all opening events, they sent their best wishes. She thanked Standard Bank for sponsoring the library.

Soul Buddyz reading club members line up neatly and eagerly await the opening of the Mandela Day Container Library

Standard Bank’s Ms Kirsten van der Nest spoke about how she and her colleagues felt so welcomed by the school, the parents and the learners. She expressed her happiness that Standard Bank, which is celebrating 150 years this year, had chosen Kebinelang Middle School to share this momentous episode in the bank’s lifespan. She also thanked all those who had supported Standard Bank throughout the years.
Schoolteacher Mrs Moepeng said that it was not only the school that had benefited from the library, but also the parents, caretakers, the teachers and the community at large. She therefore expects everyone to be involved in the library, to care for the books and the library, she said. She urged parents to support the use of the library, and to encourage their children to empower themselves.
Mrs Mphakedi summed up the event proceedings by thanking the partners for their support, and for having joined hands to collectively ensure the donation of a container library at the school.
She thanked teachers, the Soul Buddyz facilitator and parents for their support, saying: “When you are a leader at a school, you want to see your learners going forward.”
She said she hoped the library would keep learners off the streets, away from the lure of drugs, alcohol and other negative influences.
Ms Van der Nest, assisted by Breadline Africa’s Tim Smith, then formally opened the library. Guests and the Soul Buddyz reading clubs were invited to enter the library and page through the donated books.
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