By Zinzile Mavuso

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was recently invited to the unveiling of the refurbished school library and resource centre at the Lenasia Model Primary School.

Struggle stalwarts and former Robben Islanders Ahmed Kathrada and Laloo Chiba were among the guests, together with director of the Foundation, Neeshan Balton.

The opening of the library formed part of the various Mandela Day initiatives underway in the community and was sponsored by the Imperial and Ukhamba Community Development Trust which assists schools in ‘providing learners with a well-balanced education that empowers them’.

According to the Department of Education, ‘The initiative is part of Minister Angie Motshekga’s call to all social partners to support flagship projects, like the 1000 Schools Libraries Campaign and the Read to Lead Campaign which aims to empower youth by ensuring that they have all the resources they need to better themselves as individuals and scholars.”

“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles – a glimpse into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of all human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors; that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance,’’ said Denise Abrahams, the Principal of Model Primary, who quoted writer Libba Bray.

Lutendo Mugeri delivering his speech. Photo by Zinzile Mavuso

Grade R pupil Lutendo Mugeri took the spotlight when he expressed how thankful he was for the library and how it has changed and ‘saved’ his life. He stated that he now has a place that he can go to after school while he waits for his sister and that in turn removes him from all kinds of dangers that wait outside the school. Mugeri stole the audience’s attention with his light humour and good oratory skills. He rounded off by requesting that Imperial Ukhumba continue their work as it would definitely change the lives of many more learners.

The Kathrada Foundation contributed to the library by donating some of their books: A Simple Freedom, Memoirs and Triumph of the Human Spirit which details the 300 tours that Kathrada has conducted to Robben Island.




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South Africa


In pursuing its core objective
of deepening non-racialism,
the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Promote the values, rights
and principles enshrined in the
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Republic of South Africa;

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