Sport, arts and culture
The Springboks rugby squad and parent union the South African Rugby Union (SARU) are on a mission to donate libraries and books to promote literacy among learners from previously disadvantaged schools.
SARU is planning to provide at least 23 libraries per year across South Africa, in line with the 23 players in the national team. The project will be assisted by corporate and public sponsorship to ensure that the target is reached.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux says though the “Boks for Books” initiative is still in its early stage, he is happy with the impact it has made and the recent donation of a library to Gcobani Higher Primary School in Mdantsane (Eastern Cape) was the first of many.
The campaign has seen Springbok stars read to learners at various schools, including Siyabulela Primary School in Langa outside Cape Town. They are also participating in Tag Rugby Clinics.
In June, SARU named Kwamanzini Primary School in Kwandengezi Township on the outskirts of Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal as the first recipient of a Boks for Books library. The school received a fully functional library, including a reference section, computers and printers, costing R445 000.
“This is just the first step of the campaign. Over the coming months and years we will be opening more libraries and announcing other initiatives to promote literacy among our children.
“I am also excited to announce that a number of our sponsors have immediately expressed their desire to partner in this project and we will be making further announcements in due course. We are committed to making a difference by putting something back into South African society.”
At the same time, former Springbok lock and Bulls captain Victor Matfield, his former teammate Pierre Spies and Chilliboy Ralepele and former Isidingo actress Hlubi Mboya also donated books to the Boikanyo Primary School. The donation was done in partnership with BMW and 46664 Foundation. The library was the 27th to be donated by the partnership between BMW and the foundation.
Deputy principal at Boikanyo Primary School Fatima Peete said the donation would help dispel the notion that black children do not read and would improve their level of literacy. “Definitely, it will improve their literacy and those children who did not show any interest in books have started coming to the library and their interest in reading has increased,” she said.