Masiphumelele library is a key resource for the community, providing both standard library services and valuable outreach and educational programmes. However, many visitors to the library may not realise just how much of a model the library has become to communities elsewhere in Africa, and now also Europe. As part of both the library and Masicorp team, Nyasha Maziye recently had the opportunity to share his experience of ICT training at Masiphumelele Library with fellow public librarians in Lithuania and Poland. Nyahsa has lived in Masiphumelele since 2007 and completed his UNISA degree in accountancy, with financial assistance from Masicorp in 2011. He has worked as both a volunteer and staff at the library and currently delivers IT training from beginner to advanced levels at the library.
Previously he has visited both western and eastern Africa to showcase the learning programmes on offer in Masiphumelele as part of the Young African Library Innovators initiative (IYALI). This was his first visit to Europe to explain how Masiphumelele Library has successfully piloted innovative services.
Masiphumelele Library opened in 2003 and was Masicorp’s first major project in the community. It initially operated with donations of books, but is now under City of Cape Town management. Masicorp and other NGO’s provide for extra staff, additional outreach programmes, and the computer room which can only operate with external funding. Masicorp has currently secured overseas funding to deliver IT training from the library. Nyasha has played a crucial role in delivering Masicorp’s IT program at the library and this was the focus of his presentation to the IYALI group at the National Library of Lithuania.
The meeting was held in Eastern Europe to coincide with the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) general conference, which was hosted in Wrocław, Poland. Nyasha and the IYALI delegates were also able to attend, which provided a huge opportunity to network and further spread the news of the innovative programs on offer in Masiphumelele. One of the delegates sought out Nyasha to thank him for presenting to them in Uganda as part IYALI in an earlier meeting, and explained how they had begun to offer similar IT training from a library in Entebbe. It seems that the innovative work happening at Masiphumelele Library is being noticed and held up as an example of good practice elsewhere in Africa.
Around the world, libraries are increasingly seen as more than just a location to borrow books and read or study. As the world becomes ever more digitized, libraries must become more innovative and use their spaces effectively to meet the needs of local communities. On returning to Masiphumelele, Nyasha was able to share some examples of how the Eastern Europeans are using their libraries. Could we be seeing this in Masiphumelele in the near future?
Earlier this week Anroux Marais, the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, visited Ukhanyo Primary School at the invitation of Vince van der Bijl the project leader of the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club. and the school principal, Michael Thayali.
The Minister first attended the Traditional Dance group practice session. Milli Firth, Masicorp MD, then took the Minister to the specialist English Lab sponsored by Masicorp and discussed the NGO’s academic support programme of the school.
The Minister was entertained by a netball practice and then a PE class conducted by Nceba Jonas. The cricket net practice was in full swing with over 50 cricketers – both boys and girls. Girls cricket has been recently introduced at the school for the first time and there was an array of coaches for the minisiter to meet – headed by sport coordinator Teddy Nyali.
The Minister concluded her visit with a meeting at the Masicorp offices to discuss the possible ways the Western Cape Government can assist the school and the project with its sport and cultural affairs agenda.
As part of the recently launched MCC Masi 750 sports club Teddy Nyali and Fundile Frank Charlie from the community have taken on the role of Ukhyano Primary School rugby coaches. They recently took the under 13 team to Langa to be coached by the Cambridge University rugby team, who are on tour in South Africa. The day was set up by Nick Koster (ex Stormers, Western Province, and current Bristol rugby player) and Brendan Foggarty, who heads the Bishops Vusa rugby initiative in Langa who contacted our project leader Vince van der Bijl. Together they arranged a unique township rugby experience. The Cambridge players had a rewarding day touring the Langa township and then meeting the local rugby players and working with them.
Coaching techniques were swopped and discussed as the Langa and Uhkanyo rugby players were put through their paces. The Uhkanyo players practiced with verve and skill and impressed the visitors with their dexterity and rugby understanding.
The afternoon also ignited friendships between the players and coaches from Langa and Masiphumelele. The Vusa teams invited the Uhkanyo under 11 and 13 teams to play in their 7s festival in Langa next Saturday, 16th September. A great day for rugby at the school and the start of a new relationship for the coaching team.
Regular readers of our blog will be aware of our Stay & Play group held at Masiphumelele Library. We recently began an extension to this programme with the help of Yandiswa Mazwane, a local art therapist from Masiphumelele. Yandiswa has worked with the popular eMantzi carnival, where she has coordinated community groups working participating in the festival and managed the eMzantsi schools programme.
We are running a pilot of six weeks with two groups of children (33 in total), their care givers and our Stay & Play leaders. Each session will include songs and rhymes, art activities, feedback info sessions with the carers, showing them how to analyse and read the children’s work and monitoring and evaluating the children’s progress.
For these sessions we are taking the children to use the facilities at Masi Educare pre-school. Here are some pictured from the first few sessions. We hope to share further updates on this exciting development as classes proceed.