Often the restocking of libraries gives the Mandela Day Library project an ideal opportunity to touch base with schools and see how the libraries it has previously established in schools are being run.

Construction services company Kaefer South Africa, which has sponsored a number of Mandela Day libraries, funded a recent restocking and oversight road trip to some of the schools it has helped donate libraries to.

Three of the four schools received just over 1 500 new books aimed at learners from Grade R to Grade 7 (primary school). The fourth school is very small and has not had a library donated yet, but received books.

At Marikana Primary School, near Rustenburg in the North West, the Mandela Day Library project found that the library has been serving many of the school’s 1 800 learners every day for the past six years.

Marikana Primary School
(Image: Mandela Library Project)

A similar situation was discovered at Nelsonskop Primary School in Lephalale, Limpopo, where the school’s 1 650 learners are supported by really enthusiastic teachers, says project CEO Robert Coutts.

Also in Limpopo, at Motlhasedi Primary School in the village of Ga-Seleka, near the Botswana border, the project found that the school’s 598 children really love their library and use it well.

A final stop was made at Monene Primary School in Ga-Monene, outside Polokwane. While this small school of 380 learners has yet to receive a Mandela Day Library, through the project they are given some books and share a library with nearby Tlakana Primary School, which received a Mandela Day Library about a year ago.

In addition to the new books, both the Nelsonskop and Motlhasedi schools received a full maintenance toolkit from power tool manufacturer and distributor Skillcraft Agencies, to help maintenance staff complete day-to-day maintenance.

“Road trips like these really impress on you that we need to make every day a Mandela Day, not just 18 July. If we all stand together we can make a significant difference in the next generation. Do wait, do something now – it’s time for change,” says Coutts.

The Mandela Education Programme is run by the registered charity Participate for Good, which focuses on literacy from Grades R to 12 in both physical and digital forms.