As part of an extension of the Funda Mzantsi Championship, an annual event that encourages people to read, George Library donated 300 books to the George Correctional Centre library.
Ms Rachel Williams: Manager: George Libraries said the library became her second home from home at the tender age of 6 and she motivated the inmates to broaden their minds with reading. She said the effective, efficient and sustainable use of resources through creative partnerships with different structures of government is of utmost importance and leads to improved communications and firmly established relationships. Williams said the partnership with the Department of Correctional Service is one that is savoured, treasured and most certainly appreciated.
In 2009 the Centre for the Book piloted the Funda Mzantsi project in the Western Cape. This project established book clubs at high schools. The project was later expanded to other provinces and to correctional centres. The project aims to:
- Encourage book discussions
- Instil the love of reading
- Improve reading and book reviewing skills.
This is of importance as numeracy and literacy skills are indicated as vital skills for the South African population as indicated on the 2030 National Development Plan. As George Municipality is a fully fledged partner of this Reading Competition, books were given to individual members of the Reading Club of George Correctional Services.
Gerty Potts, a librarian at George library, who piloted the extended programme, said she would want to assist in expanding the crafts and magazine section of George correctional centre’s library.
Mr Johan Vermaak, Acting Head: George Correctional Centre, who himself has a passion for books said many of the inmates are involved in the library and welcomed the partnership between George library and the George Correctional Centre library.
Mr Lionel Esau: Divisional Head: Education at the George Correctional Centre, said reading enhances and liberates the mind. “Nobody can take knowledge away from you. We are deeply thankful to the George library. We only want to move forward from here,” he said.
Mr Mzukisi Makeleni, an inmate, thanked the government for such a programme, so that children growing up and persons in the correctional facilities can be growing in reading.
Mr Ntandazo Polo, another inmate, says he is already a grandfather and he is so thankful because reading became a tool to take his mind away from his circumstances. He said he encourages his children, grandchildren and younger inmates to read. He says he would like to leave this legacy to his children.
Sylvester Blokland, an inmate, says reading helps him with knowledge and it changed the way he thinks, communicates and approaches matters.