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Million books project kicks off in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to boost the capacity of school libraries

Celimfundo Primary School in Winterton where a handover of mobile libraries and laptops took place. Picture: Ahmed Motala

Celimfundo Primary School in Winterton where a handover of mobile libraries and laptops took place. Picture: Ahmed Motala

Published Jan 26, 2022

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DURBAN – The million books project and a team from private learning institute Mancosa have handed over books to KwaZulu-Natal Midlands schools to boost the capacity of school libraries.

About 60 previously disadvantaged schools across the country have been the recipients of the Mancosa mobile libraries and 60 000 books. The team, together with the KZN Department of Basic Education (DBE), visited Celimfundo Primary School in Winterton on Tuesday.

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Principal of Mancosa Professor Magnate Ntombela and his team embarked on a road trip with KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu, to Newcastle and Dundee, handing out more libraries.

Mshengu is issuing laptops for the school library administrators.

Ahmed Motala, CEO of the New Africa Education Foundation, said this public private sector collaboration adds more value to the project and “will ensure success ultimately”.

The million books project was started by the founder of Mancosa, the late Professor Yusuf Karodia, in 2018. He was an ex-English teacher who was passionate about reading.

KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu with Mancosa principal Professor Magnate Ntombela and Ahmed Motala, CEO of the New Africa Education Foundation, at Celimfundo Primary School in Winterton, where a handover of mobile libraries and laptops took place. Picture: Ahmed Motala

Motala said Karodia knew first-hand the level of literacy in the country and wanted to leave a lasting legacy.

Motala said that at the time, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had already started her own literacy initiative called the “Read to Lead” campaign, to boost literacy levels.

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“These stunning mobile libraries can be wheeled from one class to another, making reading easily accessible to learners by taking the libraries to them. The main focus of this initiative is at primary school level, as studies have shown that if a child cannot read for meaning at Grade 4 level, the chances of him or her finishing matric and gaining access to tertiary education will be very remote.”

Motala said Karodia’s legacy lived on and the current principal, Ntombela, together with the Yusuf Karodia Foundation, have taken over the baton to ensure that the distribution of libraries and books continues.

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