The children at Sakhile Primary School in Heidelberg have books to page through for the first time in 51 years.
The school, which has an 82% pass rate, received a library through the Mandela Day school library project on 27 June. Headmistress Gladys Selepe said she expects the pass rate to rise to 92% now that the children have the benefit of the library’s 1 000 books.
At the launch event, children recited poetry they had written, and sang songs that brought tears to many eyes. The library was donated through Old Mutual Insure. Old Mutual’s Khanyisile Khanyile said the company believes sponsoring the library is an investment in the future of the children who attend Sakhile Primary School.
The school participates in the Soul City Soul Buddyz Club project, a partnership between the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication and SABC Education, and supported by the Department of Basic Education.
Soul City’s Nelisiwe Hlope said every child who participates in Soul Buddyz is statistically more likely to finish matric and go on to tertiary education. Their success has an impact on their peers, their family and their community.
Global Mandela Ambassador Hlubi Mboya-Arnold spoke at the launch event, impressing on the children the need to read, dream and aspire to a better life.
After the ribbon cutting, the children had the fun of hand-printing the library walls. Each received a “goody bag” from Old Mutual Insure, and prizes for exceptional schoolwork were left with Ms Selepe.
The ribbon cutting was attended by the Mandela library project team and event organisers from the joBerg2C mountain-biking race that sponsors several community-upliftment projects, including the Mandela Day school library project.
Sakhile Primary School library received 1 000 books from Rotary International, all the books given by printers Quali-Naledi, which prints in vernacular languages.