Pedalling a new path for the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy

Members of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy celebrate their new reading corner. (Image: NMF)

Mandela bangle ambassador Hlubi Mboya-Arnold, an avid mountain biker, called in many favours to create a special mini-library reading corner for the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy.

Global Bangle Ambassadors use their public profile to demonstrate how it is possible for everyone to make a difference in the world. The programme uses the proceeds from the sale of official bangles to build Mandela Day school Libraries.

With donations from the Mandela bangle programme, the Charities Unlimited Organisation and the READ Educational Trust, the Thuto ke Bophelo Fundisanani Book Club has been born.

After a morning ride around the Northern Farm complex, near Lanseria, north of Johannesburg, the children returned to Diepsloot to find a new reading corner had been created for them. The mini-library contained early-learning readers, about half of which are in African languages.

Mother tongue education has been proved to be essential for children.

The reading corner has enough shelf space for  for more than 400 books, and a special lockable trolley library.

There are magazines and books on cycling for the older kids, plus a bunch of soccer balls for those who don’t have bikes to ride. The programme will join the Mandela Library Project, and have books updated and replenished on a continual basis.

Northern Farm, a conservation and recreation complex popular with Johannesburg’s cyclists, has put funds and efforts into a community project that includes a cycling academy servicing  more than 30 children.  A few future cycling stars are already starting to show up on the podium of some prominent South African race events.

The reading club is a welcome addition, aimed at improving literacy and expanding the safe haven offered to the  children of Diepsloot at weekends.

“A dedicated team keeps this project going from strength to strength and we were extremely happy to help fund the mini-library,” said Robert Coutts, CEO of the Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Library Project.