Nelson Mandela Foundation

Pic 3 Pr Hyt 4723 Panong Primary School Container Library

The children of Limpopo’s Papong Primary School have been enjoying a brand-new, fully stocked library since 25 July 2018, donated by the Long Walk to Freedom Mandela Day Libraries Project and mining supply company Hytec Group.

The Mandela Day libraries project has brought books to more than 40 000 children across South Africa since its 2011 inception. This is the fifth time Hytec has partnered with the project to provide a library to a needy school, this time to Papong Primary School in Burgersdorp, Limpopo.

Hytec’s R290 000 donation covered a 12mx3m converted, insulated container with shelving, doors, windows and security. Hytec stocked the library with 2 500 books, 200 of which are early readers in local languages, chairs, floor mats and posters.

Pic 1 Pr Hyt 4723 Panong Primary School Container Library
(Image: Long Walk to Freedom Mandela Day library project)

The ribbon-cutting ceremony on 25 July brought the community out to see the school’s headmaster, Mr Maroga, receive the library on behalf of the school. Members of Papong’s governing body and principals from four other local schools also attended. Burgersdorp is near the farming community of Tzaneen.

“As the schools in the area are so rural, they rely on each other for assistance and support, even in celebrations,” said Jackie Coutts, projects director for the Participate for Good campaign, a fully automated online system that allows funds generation for the library project.

Hytec general manager Mike Harrison said, “Education is a key pillar for success in Africa and Hytec is extremely proud to sponsor this library. By investing in local communities, and specifically children, we create a better future and broaden the horizons of young minds far beyond the local community.”

Harrison said Hytec hopes the container library will help to expand the children’s horizons “to what they read globally … [and allow] them to see the world in a more encouraging way.”

Maroga committed to allowing all other schools in the area access to the library’s resources.

“The school, and community, are so appreciative of Hytec’s effort and dedication to the Mandela Day library initiative,” said Coutts. “We are all grateful to Mike Harrison and Hytec as a whole for their continued and committed support in supplying rural children with an ability to dream big, and to [Mandela Bangle project founder] Robert Coutts for his vision and passion.”

Hytec is committed to uplifting the communities in which it operates and has previously sponsored similar libraries for Crown Mines Primary School (Johannesburg), Qoyintaba Primary School (KwaZulu-Natal), Mantshatlala Intermediate School (Free State) and Marikana Primary School (North West), as part of the Mandela Libraries Project.

The Long Walk to Freedom Mandela Day Libraries Project is funded by the Mandela Bangle programme and its partners. Its mandate is to promote early-learning literacy in underprivileged schools across South Africa.