Book Club fosters a love of reading among 100’s who can’t access libraries

Renee and Allen Duncan helped Sakhile by donating over 500 books.

HAVING always had a passion for literature and a dream of starting a book club in the rural parts of Mahlabathini where he is from, Sakhile Mtshali has never been afraid to dream big.

Sakhile, who is an educator by profession, has made a good name for himself within the Dlebe (Mahlabathini) area where he has started a project that encourages children to read more.

“I have never wanted to have to carry a weapon to work, that is why I’m not a policeman, a hunter, or anything of that nature. I just want to teach children, host my lunchtime book club, give them all hugs and love and do it all again the next day,” he said with a little laugh.

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Getting lost in a book is his favourite past-time and he always wanted to share this with the children in his school, but with the school having a limited amount of resources, this proved to be a challenge.

Fortunately for Sakhile, there were people who were more than willing to help him make his dream a reality.

Good Samaritans, Renee and Allen Duncan, decided to sow a gracious seed towards Sakhile’s project and donated more than 500 books.

”To us those weren’t just books but hope to the nation we’re building. They gave us life, a precious gift that we’ll never forget. I am grateful to them for coming into my life and changing it for better,” said a still very emotional Sakhile.

Sakhile aims to reach out to as many rural schools as he possibly can with this project and has already started with Ekudubekeni High School.

Sakhile hopes that his book club will help expand both the vocabulary as well as the imaginations of children from rural KZN.

When asked what keeps him inspired, he said that he strives to always improve himself.

“ I strongly believe that to attain something good in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone. Be committed, strong, cheerful and a hard worker with intelligence. The future belongs to those who believe in themselves today,” he said.

The project comes at a very good time as TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) Numeracy/ Literacy studies recently revealed that in KZN only 30% of parents were reported to be engaging in reading books with their children and this is the lowest from all provinces. The study was conducted at 297 schools with 10 932 learners.

“I would like to thank everyone that has donated books, those who have pledged to donate, as well as those who have availed themselves to be part of this initiative. Not forgetting those who will be reading for the little ones in their respective communities, whether in schools or community centres.”

  AUTHOR
Sine Thwala

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