International Exposure for Masiphumelele Library

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.

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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?

The Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport visits Ukhanyo

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.

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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.

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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.

Ukhanyo Rugby Players Shine

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.

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A New Development for the Stay & Play Group

yandRegular 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.

The Launch of the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club

It was quite a day on Tuesday as Ukhanyo Primary school opened its doors to its neighbours, local NGOs and international guests as the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club was formally launched. The launch event saw the official opening of three state of the art astro-turf cricket nets, funded by a generous donation of 50,000 pounds from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. The facility forms part of Masicorp’s ongoing commitment to improve the sports facilities at the school, following the installation of the all-weather sprint track at the school last year.

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Masicorp is lucky to have Cape Town born, former Natal and Middlesex bowler Vince van der Bijl to lead the project. The project has received international attention thanks to Vince’s tireless efforts in recent months. Speaking on the day on behalf of the MCC, CEO Derek Brewer mentioned that at a committee meeting in Mumbai last year Vince managed to bring cricket in Masiphumelele onto the agenda of a meeting to discuss the future of test cricket. Derek is seen here accepting a gift on behalf of Ukhanyo School, and we cannot thank him enough for making himself available by flying into Cape Town for just two days to be part of this event.

 

The launch event was extremely well attended and despite the inclement weather there was no danger that rain would stop play for the excited learners. The first place most visitors wanted to see was the nets themselves, which were being used for the first time since their construction. We must also thank our courageous photographers for bringing us these action pictures by bravely positioning their expensive camera lenses directly in the line of fire. Clearly there are already some big-hitting youngsters benefitting from the new facility.

 

For a full overview of the learners in action you can view the footage shown by SABC news HERE.

MCC 750 launch 4The school also opened up its learning labs to the many visitors, with computing, English, science and maths classes all part of the open day. The full range of extramural activities were on display ranging from a game of netball to the school choir that welcomed delegates to their seats. The guests seemed to particularly enjoy the young praise singer who welcomed school principal Michael Thyali as he stood to thank the visitors and the MCC for their kind award. Derek Brewer was impressed enough to note that Michael’s colourful jacket even outshone the traditional MCC Lords jackets.

 

IMG_6608The school’s violinists closed the event, but for the project itself there is still a long way to go. Vince’s aim is to attract 750 members to the club who will donate R100-200 on a monthly basis to ensure the sustainability of the project, and the expansion to provide further equipment and facilities at the school. The long-term plan is to appoint a full-time sports administrator at the school and assistant coaches for the remarkable Nceba Jonas, who is currently the sole PE instructor delivering lessons to over 1,800 learners. With help from Fish Hoek cricket club the coaching of a girl’s team has begun and we hope that the school will soon be able to participate in inter school league competitions.

Please consider helping the project by joining the MCC Masi 750 Sports club. Donations can be made via the secure credit card facility on the Masicorp website.

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Photo credits: Stephen Cruickshank and Louise de Waal

Masicorp working with AWOL Tours and Songezo Jim’s cycling academy

The coming and going of cyclists from Songezo Jim’s cycling academy has become a regular sight since the professional cyclist started renting space at Chasmay Road. Songezo was aided in his move to the new premises by AWOL Tours who have helped him with sponsorship. AWOL have run a cycling tour of Masi for many years and have now decided to make their relationship with Songezo more formal. The AWOL bicycles are stored together with Songezo’s and the AWOL tour now begins at the Chasmay Road campus.

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The new partnership was recently launched at an opening event on the campus.  The AWOL Team invited the Songezo cycling academy cyclists to a BBQ / braai to meet the team.  Nonny’s café and Mark’s braai bus provided a perfect launch feast and many plans for future cycling development were made.

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The academy now has a workshop and storage space, and there is an opportunity to assist in developing Masiphumelele’s cycling legacy and training future AWOL cycling guides.

In addition to the regular cycling tour AWOL now introduce their guests to the Songezo cycling academy and also showcase the Masicorp crafters and artisans who share the premises at Chasmay Campus. During school term, the tour visits a local crèche and a proportion of every tourists booking fee continues to be donated to Masicorp to support the development of ECD in the community.

You can book the AWOL cycling tour HERE

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A Mid-Year Break for our Bursary Students

We took the opportunity to catch up with our bursary students last weekend. Most of them were back in Masiphumelele for the break between the academic semesters. Fortunately it has been a trouble free period on campus at all universities in the Western Cape and good academic progress is being made. The teaching has been fairly intensive, with some catching up from modules that were only partially completed last academic year due to the Fees Must Fall demonstrations.

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This event was mostly a social get-together, with the students appreciating the cooking from the bursary team and another wonderful cake from Nonny’s Bakery.

 

We also thank the mentors for attending and some of them also donated files and other materials to support the students. In particular we thank the Pack for a Purpose project for providing each student with a flash drive on which they can back up their studies.

 

Not all students could attend due to winter school and in-service training commitments. We received the following message from Zintle Magazi who is currently in Leuven, Belgium doing two courses in “European policies and politics” as well as ” Social immigration issues”. This is a summer school and is part of her course in International Studies.

The summer school has been a lot of fun thus far even though we have very long days. My normal day at KU Leuven University starts at 9 am and finishes at 6 pm, sometimes 7 or even 8 pm. Each lecture is about two hours long and very information-packed and comprehensive. I believe I know a lot more about Europe now and I’m interested to see how the European Union will deal with the competition from new rising world powers.

 There are eight of us here from Stellenbosch University and we are amongst students from everywhere; some from Russia, China, Italy, Cameroon, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. It’s so interesting hanging out with all of them and learning about each other’s ways of life through casual conversations or even joking with one another. It really is a blessing to be here and it is motivating me to keep working hard at school so that I can study my postgraduate studies in Germany.

Phumlani Simthembile & SiphuxoloIt is now back to campus and for some students in-service training as their courses come to completion. Our continued thanks to all the sponsors and mentors that assist us in making this programme possible.