National Book Week (NBW) is #GOINGPLACES and reaching the deepest recesses of the country. 9 September 2015 the tour bus received a welcome fit for royalty when they rolled up at Megoring Primary School in Limpopo. The guests, including The Honourable Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms. Rejoice Mabudafhasi, and NBW ambassador, Aaron Moloisi, were greeted with a guard of honour by the school’s drum majorettes. The warm hospitality continued when the learners put together a short play in the eleven official languages to showcase to the guests.
Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi reciprocated the love when she facilitated a book give-away in the spirit of #BUYABOOK for the school’s new library, in conjunction with the local municipality. “We turned an empty class into a library last year, and hope it can be fully operational in the next few weeks. I’d like to see the library being used to help learners with school work, because I think it would be a good place for remedial classes,” said Grade 7 teacher, Mafa Mathiba.
Unlike teachers from other schools that have so far been visited by the NBW Tour Bus, Mathiba said their learners – save for a handful – enjoy reading for leisure. “We have an annual ‘Foundation for Learning’ programme where a day is booked-off for all learners to participate. They read to one another in different languages across all their subject matter, just to gain a basic foundation and understanding,” Mathiba explained, adding that the reward of a prize was a strong motivator. “When the library opens, I would like to see books that speak to the learners’ reality,” concluded Mathiba.
The bus then moved to Molepo Library, which opened in February 2014. Molepo librarian Tshidi Tjale and Maurdy Dunster, Outreach Librarian at Polokwane City Library, were on hand to welcome the guests. Tjale said learners from the nearby primary and high schools are frequent visitors, crediting the variety of books and computer lab for being a drawcard. “Our books are bought by the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture in conjunction with the Polokwane Municipality. We request the books that members say they need, which keeps our shelves relevant.”
A number of different activities took place inside and outside the library. Older kids enjoyed playing the word game, Wordathon, while the little ones played with the toy library provided by Cotlands.
The NBW mascot, Funda Bala, also came out to play. Other primary school learners enjoyed storytelling with Moloisi, as well as hip hop and poetry sessions with Nancy G and CEO Hitman.
Nal’ibali ran their competition ‘Story Bosso’. It is a nationwide storytelling competition to find South Africa’s first ‘Story Bosso’. Aimed at reawakening a love of storytelling and reading among South Africans of all ages, the competition connects the public to ideas and inspiration on how to tell stories and read aloud to others. It also showcases a range of local stories (in all South African languages), and identifies undiscovered storytellers in communities across the country.
Dunstan said lots of preparation and planning went into yesterday’s events, “We are changing that norm of saying ‘we are not reading.’ We’re not leaving it at just this week’s activities; after the celebrations we’re still going to carry on promoting reading.”