Fostering love of books

2016-04-26 06:00

On Wednesday 20 April I was hired by St Augustine’s Primary School in Wittebome to deliver 40 boxes of library and text books to John Nicholson at 1 Sunflower Road, Hillview in Lavender Hill.

The principal of the school, Erin Groepes, had read about how Nicholson had started a library at his home so that the children of the area can make use of this library – called Siyafunda, meaning “we are reading”.

The school was busy refurbishing their library and decided to donate these 40 boxes of reading books as well as text books to Siyafunda. After loading the boxes I followed the school principal in her car to Nicholson’s home. During the drive I noticed how there were many children moving in the Lavender Hill area and we also passed an informal settlement and saw the same scenario of the many children moving in the streets.

At Siyafunda I met Nicholson and his sons and what struck me was the simplistic status of the library with books on tables and in a few bookshelves. I noticed poor young children eagerly sitting at the very few simplistic tables reading from the books.

Nicholson was very excited about the books donated and I could see these books needed more shelves to house them. I asked Nicholson what his vision was and he stated that the area had no library so he decided to open one. He stated that on Fridays then he has some games and the children come to play whatever games he has available.

I then realised that Nicholson is on a truly noble mission and his project can keep kids off the street by them making use of the library and the games.

He stated on a question that no government official has been to Siyafunda to come and see what they can do to assist and that really saddened me.

I asked him what he still needs and he stated that he needs more books, book shelves, tables and chairs, fans and a computer with Internet facility so that the unemployed can make use of this facility to seek employment possibilities.

I could not help but smile when I noticed that there was no silence notice at Siyafunda as at other libraries as the kids are too excited.

Our government officials need to take a humble view of this project and see where they can truly assist.

Keith Blake Ottery Ottery

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