On Saturday, 25 August, Ikamva Youth’s Ebony Park Branch opened it’s own library. It was opened after a ceremony introducing the Ikamvanites to the library and its rules. After watching entertaining videos on the wonder of books, learners made their own bookmarks in anticipation of reading the library’s books. After the ceremony, excited Ikamvanites were allowed to go to the library. For the first time books were taken out of the newly established library. Hopefully this will expose them to the joys of books, establishing a culture of reading at the Ebony Park Branch.

 

(Ikamvanites deciding which books to take out from the library)

Just over a year ago, Ikamva volunteer Nthabiseng Mokoena realised that the Ikamvanites lacked access to books. After consulting with other volunteers at the Branch, as well as Ikamva employees, she decided to start a library. With a generous donation of book shelves from Robert Barkahuizen, the process of the forming the library began. Nthabiseng, and fellow volunteer Samuel Suttner, collected books from various sources, including family, friends, and fellow Wits’ students. There were considerable donations from Pat Tucker and from the Matla Runners, and assistance from Prof. Bhekizizwe Peterson and the Wits Volunteer Programme. 

 

(The library, still a work in progress)

Once the books were collected, the arduous task of setting up a cataloguing system for the library began. With the help of a former librarian, Lucille Katz,  and Lucy Verbeek, this was done over many months. They set out the library, categorising and cataloguing the many books

 

(Lucy Verbeek (left) and her son helping out with the library.)

There was no funding for the library; all the resources for it were donated by people who believed in the importance of having a library for the Ikamvanites. The views of those who assisted with the establishment of the library were expressed by the novelist Zadie Smith:  “A lot of people don’t have books on their shelves. The library was the place I went to find out what there was to know. It was absolutely essential.”

 

(An Ikamvanite takes out books, with volunteer Nthabiseng Mokoena – right).

We would like to thank the following people for their assistance:

Andrew Barrett; Hlengiwe Radebe; Judy Engela; Karuna Singh; Gill Laburn and the Matla Runners; Lucille Katz; Lucy Verbeek; Nyasha Mutasa; Pat Tucker; Patrick Zimba; Prof. Bhekizizwe Peterson; Robert Barkahuizen; Seth Musker; Stephanie Simpson; Talent Mzili; Thapelo Mokoena; Tiffany Ebrahim; Wits Volunteer Programme, Wits University; Wits Bachelor of Accounting Science, Fourth Year Class of 2012.

Written by Nthabiseng Mokoena and Samuel Suttner