Literacy is at the heart of basic education for everyone. From humble beginnings, Masiphumelele library has grown into the key resource for its community; providing both standard library services and valuable outreach and educational programmes. The library itself is a beautiful public space, a safe venue for the community and a popular meeting area.
The township's library was built in 2003 by Masicorp and opened its doors on 15 September 2003 as a satellite of Fish Hoek Library.
Masiphumelele Library initially operated with donations of books from South Africa and abroad until the Western Cape Provincial Library Services came on board with book stock. Contract staff from Fish Hoek operated the library from 2003 onwards. Additional staff were subsidized by funding from Masiphumelele Corporation to keep the library open for longer hours and to support the outreach programmes.
Masiphumelele Corporation went on to build the double storey extension to the library in 2005 and a park in front of the library in 2006. The park contains a children’s playground and there are benches to sit on. (There are only two parks in the whole of Masiphumelele.) The name 'Eyethu Park' means 'Our Park'.
The small library built by Masicorp in 2003 has been expanded twice and is now the centre of learning in the community. In 2010 an extra wing was added to the building, providing a shaded courtyard area and extra teaching /meeting rooms. Peninsula Beverages and Exclusive books provided the funding and Newlands Rotary project managed the extension.
This award-winning library and centre for education has gained world-wide recognition for the service it provides the township of Masiphumelele, near to Cape Town, South Africa.
The Library offers standard conventional library services which are considered critical in educational support in both developing and established communities. This includes the loan of books and magazines and the provision of printing, photocopying and fax facilities.
In addition, their mission is to initiate and develop a range of outreach programmes for all age groups, drawing the community into the library. These programmes include homework help for primary and high school learners, reading enrichment, art, computer literacy, early childhood development, literacy and parent programmes which are run by library staff, partners and volunteers.
Masiphumelele Library is grateful for the commitment of their volunteers work and the funding from partners who share Masicorp's commitment to the project:
EIFL-PLIP- awarded a grant to provide free computer and internet training and to connect the youth of Masiphumelele to work and study opportunities.
Friends of the Fish Hoek Library have helped with fundraising for additional items required in the library, for example the photocopier and courses for staff development.
IkamvaYouth: The NGO IkamvaYouth extends a service to the youth in the community through mentoring, tutoring, career guidance, workshops and outings.
Lalela: The NGO Lalela provides educational arts to youth affected by extreme poverty, to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit by providing weekly art programmes and art workshops during the holidays.
Nal’ibali: The NGO Nal’ibali is a national 'reading-for-enjoyment' campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.
WorldTeach–is a US-based non-profit organisation that sends educational volunteers to developing countries and has worked with Masiphumelele library since 2005.
Wordworks - supports early literacy and language development in disadvantaged communities and has been working with the library since 2006.
We built the library and it has been extended, twice; all with funds from private and corporate donors.Today the Library is under City of Cape Town management and the City provides the operational funding. In addition Masicorp and other NGO’s provide for extra staff, additional outreach programmes, and the computer room which can only operate with outside funding.
We aim to raise R200,000/$27,000/£17,000 each year to continue to support the library and to help grow and develop the outreach programmes that run there — there is such demand!