Now its his turn to read

2011-09-01 00:00

ALFRED Ndlovu (65) a library assistant — knows his books.

He has worked at the Pietermaritzburg public library for 29 years and now he is packing up his books and retiring this week to start a new chapter in his life.

The humble library assistant has been serving the Pietermaritzburg public for many years and his skills have been mostly used in the homebound service, where pensioners and the disabled are visited by the mobile library.

He knows they prefer large print and also remembers what they have read, as many of the elderly are inclined to forget.

Ndlovu knows the latest thrillers and said that elderly women love romance books and elderly men are fond of war and western novels.

His polite manners and people skills will be sadly missed by the folk who have come to rely on him.

Ndlovu started in the library stacking the shelves in the archives and then he was promoted into the homebound section.

“He is an invaluable asset and we will miss him so much,” said librarian Shanitha Bhim who added that Ndlovu has people skills that makes him so popular.

The homebound service supplies about 300 people who cannot get to the library.

They look forward to the library visits as the books allow them to indulge in one of the few forms of entertainment available to them — reading.

Bambi Sivemangal from the Isabel Beardmore home, needs a box to carry his fourteen books.

“I need books to keep my mind active, I battle to sleep and the books are my friends,” said Sivemangal.

Ndlovu said, “I like chatting to the people because they are friendly. I also like to go out in the van, it’s better than being stuck behind the desk all day.”

His colleague on homebound shift, Reshma Masikane who does the admin, said that Ndlovu is like a GPS, he knows all the routes and he remembers all the old folk’s names.

“Oh Richard, we will miss you,” said an elderly woman.

He smiles benignly and says thank you. He knows that old age is filled with potholes.

Another elderly woman slips him a pair of pink hand knitted bed socks as a farewell present.

Ndlovu loves reading, but he said he mostly reads his Bible and occasionally indulges in Wilbur Smith books.

Now he will have plenty of time to read, but said that he plans to stay active and keep busy.

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