iSimangaliso shares the gift of reading

25 Jun 2018

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority recently initiated a school library programme to augment its existing education initiatives. Launched last week as a partnership between the Umfolozi Sugar Mill (USM) and the Authority, a pilot library book collection kick-started the programme with Macmillan Publishers also donating books towards the programme.

iSimangaliso and USM
The team from iSimangaliso and USM, from left: Nosipho Ngcobo, Slindile Msweli, Petro Vorster (USM), Muzi Myeni, Samkelisiwe Mthiyane, Sifiso Vumase and Zweli Miya.

Two schools in the Mtubatuba area – Mzabalazo Primary School in Dukuduku and Gilonki High School in Nkundusi – were selected for the pilot project, assessed on the following criteria:

  1. The school already makes use of books and other library resources;
  2. An existing library resource is in place, and accessible to educators and learners;
  3. There is a dedicated educator responsible for managing the library resources
Mzabalazo and Gilonki Schools
Learners at Mzabalazo and Gilonki Schools show their appreciation for some of the newly donated library books.

Says iSimangaliso Project and Facilitation Assistant Nosipho Ngcobo, “After looking at a number of applications from schools within the neighbouring area that have a relationship with both the Park and USM, iSimangaliso was impressed with the way in which the library was resourced and managed at these two. Most of the library books have an environmental theme, in the hope that we can improve access to information, instil a passion for books and promote a culture of reading.”

Mzabalazo Primary School
On the 12th of June the first book hand over took place in Mzabalazo Primary School in Dukuduku where the donors were warmly welcomed by the whole school. Learners gave stirring performances of Gospel music, solo performances, poem recitals and indlamu to close the event. From left: Nosipho Ngcobo – Library project manager; Mr Ndulini – Mzabalazo Principal; Mr Ntuli – Chairperson of the School Governing Body; Sizo Sibiya – iSimangaliso’s Director Park Operations and Petro Vorster – USM sponsor.

Mzabalazo’s Principal, Mr Ndulini, said that he was thrilled for their school to be chosen for the pilot phase. “We are happy that amongst all schools in the Mtubatuba Municipal area, we were one of two who were selected.” He added that iSimangaliso and USM will not regret the decision of donating the books to their school because they will be highly utilised.

Sizo Sibiya and Principal Ndulini
Sizo Sibiya, iSimangaliso’s Director Park Operations (right), handed over the book “A Bushveld Safari” to Principal Mr Ndulini, emphasising the importance of reading within our communities and saying that the reason behind this project is that iSimangaliso wants to encourage and instil a reading culture within our youth. He challenged learners to find out about the animal that is portrayed in the cover of the book and promised that the next time he visits the school he will ask them questions based on the book.
Chairperson Ntuli
Chairperson of the Mzabalazo School Governing Body, Mr Ntuli, gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the school and said that he particularly wanted to thank iSimangaliso for being a conservation agent. He said the work that iSimangaliso was doing for the area and region is in the best interest of the people and the environment, and added that “as the job of primary school is to nourish young minds through education and reading, this goes hand in hand with the job of conservation because people will never conserve what they don’t know, nor appreciate its value unless they are to read about it and understand it. For people to respect and protect nature they must be given opportunities to read about and explore it.”

The second session took place in Gilonki High School where Principal Mrs Thusi welcomed iSimangaliso and explained to learners the purpose of iSimangaliso’s presence at the school. She expressed her happiness and sense of privilege for her school to be chosen as part of the pilot project said that she is looking forward seeing her learners’ knowledge capacity grow.

Sizo Sibiya and Principal Thusi
Mr Sizo Sibiya handing over of books to Principal Mrs Thusi. Sibiya told learners about the importance of reading and urged them to make reading their habit. This will not only increase their knowledge but it will also make them better human beings with the ability to solve problems.

Mr Gumede, of the Gilonki School Governing Body, thanked iSimangaliso for the good work it was doing especially when they are looking after the people of the area. He said the job of looking after nature was very important and bigger than iSimangaliso alone as it also requires the youth of the area to play a part in conservation. This, he said, begins when they first learn about nature.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Khoza, a Ward 8 Councillor, who spoke about the need to get young people off bad habits and encourage them to adopt good habits like reading. He said that as the governing party they “knew long ago how reading was central to liberation when they proclaimed in the freedom charter that “the doors of learning and culture shall be opened”.

Media enquiries should be directed to Slindile Msweli at