Jul 2023 2nd edition

Young minds to escape into the world of books

Written by Anele Zikali

With every turn of a page there is a universe of possibilities, waiting to be explored by a reader. 

This is according to Shane Liebenberg, a librarian at the Hantam Community Education Trust (HCET) in the rural Great Karoo, Northern Cape.

The HCET runs an early childhood development centre, a primary and intermediate school in the area.

The HCET recently received a library trolley of 500 books to the value of R50 000 from AVBOB, as part of its Road to Literacy campaign which awarded deserving 260 beneficiaries.

The campaign is a partnership between AVBOB, Oxford University Press Southern Africa and the Department of Basic Education. It aims to promote the culture of reading and enhance numeracy skills in primary school children.

“Our library stands as a beacon of hope and sanctuary of knowledge for our children.  It is here where they discover the magic of stories,” said Liebenberg.

The Director of HCET, Mary-Ann Smith said the trolley library would make a difference in their school library.Shane Liebenberg a librarian of the HCET school, with learners Motsoane Thoote on the left and Ndonwaba Bonas on the right.

"The children that will have access to these books live on farms in a 50km radius of the school, being able to take books from the library is something the whole family can enjoy while stimulating their imagination and love of reading," added Smith.

Earlier this year, AVBOB and Oxford University Press made a call for South Africans to nominate schools that would be eligible to receive one of 260 trolley libraries equipped with books written in one South African language.

The HCET was one of the schools nominated for this programme and received books that contained numeracy, literature and other learning resources.

Meanwhile, Minister of the Department of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga encouraged parents to play a role in encouraging children to read.

The Minister was briefing the media following the release of the recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in which South African learners ranked last in a list of 50 countries.

“What is important about PIRLS and  reading is that we have to recognise that learning does not start at Grade R. It starts at zero. There are steps that the department can take but it is also what parents can do,” said Minister Motshekga.

She said her department plays a very important role in supporting early learning skills and teaching children how to read.

“The entire ecosystem must also be involved. Schools do play a very important role in providing material, especially for families who rely solely on them,” she adds.

Share this page