root - September 12, 2023

Librarians inspires Dunoon children on International Literacy Day

Peter Luhanga 

Valuable lessons on the significance of literacy and numeracy were provided to 72 children from Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and Dunoon Primary School in honour of International Literacy Day at the Dunoon library on Friday 8 September.

International Literacy Day was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) in 1966. 

Dunoon librarian Zanele Ndzamela read Xhosa and English books to the primary school pupils, while children from the ECD centres took part in activities related to reading and counting.

“We want to show them the importance of reading. We’ve got children’s books here at the library in Xhosa, English, and Afrikaans that they can borrow. We’re even encouraging them to apply for libabry membership, its free, it doesn’t cost money. It only costs when a member has lost the library card, and the costs are for replacing the card,” said Ndzamela.

She said during the week in which Literacy Day took place, libraries gave amnesty to those who had fines from overdue books.

“We encouraging children to love reading,” said Ndzamela, adding the library wanted to change the saying that the safest place to keep your money was in a book because no-one would open it. “Now we want to take that money out of the book by encouraging children to open the book to read it,” she said.

Estelle Sauls from Dunoon’s Harare Kids College, who is also secretary at Dunoon’s ECD forum, said she brought her ECD children to the event to learn about the importance of literacy and reading.

“What we’ve come to realise, staying in the township, most teenagers cannot speak English and cannot communicate,” said Sauls.

She even some parents of the children at the ECD centre avoided speaking to her. “I can’t speak Xhosa so I let our Xhosa speaking teachers speak to them.”

Sauls said she loved reading, as she could be in Dunoon reading a book, but the book “takes you to Singapore”.

She appreciated the Dunoon Library hosting the event, saying “it should become the biggest event”. “They need to expand it in our township,” she said.

Elizabeth Malone from Nyakallo Educare Centre also took her ECD children to the event.

“Reading opens your mind. It helps develop communications skills,” said Malone.

She said young people in the township, whether English or Xhosa, were unable to articulate words well because they avoided reading.

Malone said the event was crucial and an “eye opener” to the community.

“Our community needs to be informed about the importance of reading. Parents need to know the library,” she said.

Author and publisher Israel Malope said he saw a lot of books in the library that he was involved in publishing.

“There should be an outreach in the community to reach out to parents, not only targeting schools and ECDs, because the parents are the ones who release the children to go to the library. The parents need to know the importance of the library and reading,” said Malope.

Zanele said some parents did not even know the existence of the state-of-the art Library in Dunoon which was officially opened in 2019.   

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