Mini-workshop for teenagers in Clanwilliam


On Friday afternoon 29th May CBN held a presentation workshop for teenagers at the Clanwilliam Library as part of the Clanwilliam Dam Community Project.

No less than twenty young people presented themselves at three o’ clock and participated with energy and enthusiasm, reacting strongly to the chosen stories and showing interest in the outline of what CBN and CDCP will be offering them in the coming winter holidays.

This was a very informal afternoon, during which Lesley Beake shared some of her favourite books, ranging from a picture book to a technical non-fiction book on the origins of science, and explained her fascination with the written word in all its forms.

Books used in the presentation included:

The Retired Kid, by Jon Agee. We looked at how this book can cross generations because it is about something important, even though it is in a picture book format. (This book delighted these teenagers as it has delighted everybody else who has seen it).

Inside out and back again, by Thanhha Lai, a very beautiful book of poetry written by a Vietnamese-American writer about the pain of loss and the importance of home.

The Strollers, by Lesley Beake, bringing story closer to home with street children in Cape Town.

The Art of Tracking; The origins of Science, by Louis Libenberg as related to the lives of hunter-gatherers who once lived in the Olifants River Valley.

In between readings, an unembarrassed sales job was done on the CBN workshops and joys thereof, and an explanation of the work archaeologists are doing in the valley ahead of the planned raising of the Clanwilliam dam and subsequent flooding of some land – including some rock art and artefacts.

The audience was attentive and respectful, laughing at all the right places, shy to ask questions but obviously intrigued. A representative was appointed form each school for liaison purposes and cards were distributed with contact details. Participants were invited to sugest what they would like to do with what is basically a four-month project – July to October – and which could be repeated if there is enough interest (and funding).

We finished off with a piece of group writing (Mall Madness, written by learners at Leicester Road Primary in Gauteng), which deeply interested and amused the group. CBN is a strong supporter of group writing. It gives young people the freedom of a certain amount of anonymity while allowing them to express their real thoughts.

Our big workshop for this age group is at Living Landscape in Clanwilliam between 29 June and 2 July and we have a very exciting line up in mind. We truly hope to see ALL of these new participants in CBN reading, writing and fun.

This was a sustained effort to reach a new group of young people – previously CBN has worked only with primary school children – and was successful largely due to the vigorous efforts of the Clanwilliam Library librarians and the cooperation of the principals of the two high schools – Clanwilliam Sekondêr and Augsburg Agrikultural Gymnasium Those attending were aged between 13 and 17 with an encouraging number of boys participating.

Thanks: This workshop was part of the Clanwilliam Dam Community Project (CDCP) in association with Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project, PGS Heritage and Clanwilliam Municipality, particularly their Library and their librarians who give CBN wonderful support. Sponsorship for the workshops comes from the Department of Water and Sanitation as part of its Social responsibility programme associated with the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall.

Special thanks:
To Librarians Lizel van Reenen and Emilene Jacobs who spread the word about the meeting and to Clanwilliam Library who funded snack-bags for the participants to take away with them (eating and drinking not being a good idea in libraries) and provided huge moral support for the whole project.

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