A book donation of note …
For some years now, April 23 has been officially noted as World Book Day. This year, I spent the morning most happily accompanying Jean Williams of Biblionef SA to two schools. First to the Mfuleni Educare Centre (the other side of the N2 from Khayelitsha) where she handed over boxes of new books and toys to every class in that pre-primary school.
They were paid for by a donation from “Wings of Support”, a remarkable charity set up by the flying crew and cabin staff of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. In gratitude, the very small children of Mfuleni sang (in English and Xhosa) more songs than I think I ever knew at one time! That was just the appetiser.
We then drove on to Irista Primary School in Kuils River where we were politely welcomed by the head boy and girl and then escorted to their library. This in itself is unusual, as it puts them amongst the 7% of schools in South Africa that possess a functioning library. Yes, 7%! What is more, Irista Primary built the library themselves out of funds they raised themselves. How’s that for initiative!
However, back in 2007 they were the proud owners of a brand new library – but the shelves were empty. That was when Biblionef SA came to the rescue and donated an impressive number of books. This year, to celebrate World Book Day, Biblionef came up with an equally inspired idea. With the sponsorship of Via Afrika Publishers, they handed over 1,190 books – in other words, a book for every child in the school.
The school thanked Jean Williams of Biblionef, they thanked Mrs Watson of Via Afrika, they even thanked Mr Jay Heale, author, aged 75 who had nothing to do with it and had just come along to join in the fun. We then visited many classrooms of Irista Primary: in each one every single child was holding a brand-new book with a look of amazement and rapture.