First ‘Boks for Books’ library opened

23 August 2013

Gcobani Higher Primary School in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape on Thursday celebrated the opening of a library provided by the South African Rugby Union’s (Saru’s) “Boks for Books” literacy campaign.

The school was identified as part of Saru’s initiative to supply 23 fully-stocked mobile or refurbished libraries to previously disadvantaged schools across the country.

Gcobani Higher Primary School was chosen based on a number of factors including the need for improved education in the Eastern Cape, the quality of leadership at the school, the needs of the learners and the community’s openness to the project.

Rugby and reading

Speaking at the opening function on Thursday Saru vice-president Mark Alexander said that rugby, schools and education are inextricably linked.

“Springboks are ultimately made at schools, but as a sport rugby emphasises the value of education,” Alexander told the gathering.

“There is a critical need for basic education in our country and the provision thereof is a top-priority for our government. However, we all have a duty to join in these efforts to ensure that every child has access to a good education.

Helping learners become independent

Gcobani principal Mrs Mjila said the library will be of great assistance to the learners as well as the community at large.

“We want to ensure that our learners become independent, and this involves being able to research information for their subjects, as well as reading for pleasure to broaden their minds.”

Springbok Sevens and SA under-20 wing Seabelo Senatla, SA under-20 prop Sti Sithole, and Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams were among the guests at Thursday’s opening.

‘Illiteracy is a challenge’

Senatla, who earlier this year excelled at the IRB Junior World Championships in France and at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia, said she was fortunate to have teachers at primary school who encouraged to her to read.

“I know that illiteracy is a challenge, especially in rural areas, and I am therefore very pleased that Saru will make a meaningful contribution toward the development of reading skills in some of these areas,” Senatla said.

The head girl of the school, 12-year-old Sisenabo Mejane, said having a library at her school “means that our brothers and sisters do not have to walk far to go and look for information.

“The easy access to the library at school will also help to improve our pass rate,” she added.

Other schools in area that will benefit from the libary include Isibane JPS, Zuzile JPS, Nokulunga JPS and Phumelelani SP.

SAinfo reporter and SA Rugby