Rebonwe Primary School in Ivory Park, Gauteng, received a Mandela Day Library on 23 November 2017.
The library was donated by law firm Fasken South Africa and Zambian mountaineer Saray Khumalo. Rebonwe serves 2 100 pupils and has more than 50 staff members.
The donation came about as a result of headmaster Simon Tlhabane’s dedication and the school’s dynamic Soul Buddyz Club project. Soul Buddyz is a partnership between the Soul City Institute for Social Justice and SABC Education, and is supported by the Department of Basic Education. Its aim is to improve the standard of education in South Africa.
“Simon Tlhabane has steadily led his pupils and teachers on a strong moral and disciplined path,” said Robert Coutts, CEO and founder of Mandela Bangle, which provides funding for the Mandela Day Schools Library Project.
“There’s a lot of joy, laughter and excellence among the teachers and pupils alike. This is shown in the spirit and brave hearts of the children, who have excelled under his leadership,” Coutts said.
The school services an impoverished section of Tembisa township north of Kempton Park. It was built in 1995, with good infrastructure, Coutts said.
The donation included 1 400 early-learning readers from printers Quai-Naledi in the three dominant local languages, Xitsonga, Zulu and Pedi. The books were supplied by Mandela Bangle and Rotary International.
Guests at the handover ceremony included Princess Swati Dlamini, the late President Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter.
Coutts said the children brought tears “of laughter and emotion” to his eyes as they expressed their gratitude through song, dance and poetry.
Fasken marketing head Lianne Williams asked the children to talk about their aspirations and to explain in their own words what the library and education meant to them. The Fasken team pledged to stay connected with the school, and Khumalo told the children they could be anything they dreamt of.
The sponsorship also included snacks, cold drinks and soccer balls to complete the children’s end-of-year party.