After 35 years of waiting, an Mpumalanga primary school opened its first real library on 13 March 2024, thanks to the Mandela Day Library project.

The project aims to improve literacy across South Africa by converting shipping containers into libraries and benefits more than 80 000 children daily. It has been running since 2011.

Kaefer South Africa sponsored the library at Vukuzithathe Primary School in the Embalenhle informal settlement outside Evander, which serves more than 1 700 children. The construction services company arrived at the library launch with treats for the children, which added to their excitement.

Vukuzithathe Primary School
(Image: Mandela Library Project)

Deputy Principal MA Mnembe gave a moving speech about how the school had been asking for a library for 35 years.

In his speech, Kaefer South Africa managing director Jayson Cleaver urged the children to use literacy to move beyond their perceived limits to achieve their dreams. He said he was pleased to see the support from the local education department district office and the school governing body.

Vukuzithathe Primary School - image 2
(Image: Mandela Library Project)

The highlight of the opening ceremony was a “moving, inspirational and well-articulated speech about literacy” by school prefect Nkosi Mhlonishwa, said Robert Coutts, the CEO of the Mandela Education Programme run by the non-profit organisation Participate for Good. “It makes us proud to be a small part of this child’s journey to a career of significance.”