The lack of a public library and worrying levels of illiteracy have pushed a 25-year-old man to convert an abandoned two-room house into a small library at Bakoneng Village, outside Jane Furse, in Limpopo.
Tshepo Makola, a second-year law student, started the project in November 2020. He used his own books, donated ones and an old laptop.
Makola says a local primary school offered the initial premises for the library before he renovated the abandoned house.
“I realised that I have books and these books I cannot throw them away, they mean something to me. I asked my friends, family and other people to donate some books for me and I ended up having almost about 1 000 hard copies and then another 500 in terms of soft copy PDF method books, with the newspapers and magazines. Then I went to Mokgoko Primary School. They offered me a classroom to operate from and in the beginning of May we started our own thing by renovating the old premises which was used by teachers,” he says.
Learners are assisted with school work and reading.
Makola adds that he uses his old laptop to teach them computer literacy.
“Most of these learners they don’t have the environment that encourages them to read outside their school. Once they leave school premises, they close the books for good then they don’t care until the next school day. So I came up with this idea saying I wanted to help these kids so one of the good days Grade 12 learners can take this opportunity and grab it with two hands, produce better results for them and the community as a whole. The level of literacy is very slow in my community. Many people are not computer literate due to the lack to access computers.”
Some of the children say they are learning a lot from the initiative.
“It helps me a lot because I did not know how to read English very well. So coming to this library helps me,” says one beneficiary of the initiative.
“I like coming to the library because it helps me reading and using computer. I want to thank him because he is helping us,” adds another beneficiary.
Makola says they are in need of computers, printers, internet access and proper furniture in order to be a fully equipped library.