Promoting reading in young children is vital to improving literacy and numeracy skills among the youth. It is a skill that is often neglected, as the responsibility for promoting a love of reading falls to families, many of whom are without the means to nurture it. To address this gap, the Qumbu Public Library has been refurbished in a public-private sector partnership between OR Tambo District Municipality, Impala Rustenburg, the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), Port St Johns, Ingquza Hill and the Mhlontlo Local Municipality.
As part of Impala Rustenburg’s Social and Labour Plan commitment to initiatives that will contribute to the upliftment of the communities from which the Company sources labour, four community facilities in the Eastern Cape have been renovated in the past year to provide library and information services to the region. Renovations to three of the libraries – the Kwa-Nyathi Rural Library (PSJ Local Municipality), and the Lusikisiki and Flagstaff public libraries (Ingquza-Hill Local Municipality) – were completed and are operating under the management of their respective municipalities. The final project, the refurbishment of the Qumbu Public Library in the Mhlontlo Local Municipality, was handed over to the Hon. MMC Cllr Gcingca on 25 May 2022.
Said Mark Munroe, CE of Impala Rustenburg, “As a Company that provides employment on our mines for members of this community and others in the Eastern Cape, we are committed to upliftment projects. We view this initiative – and the partnership with local government and DSRAC – as an opportunity to invest into the lives of the Eastern Cape community and to ensure a brighter future for the people of Qumbu. We are honoured to be able to invest in this joint project, which has the potential to bring about meaningful change. At Impala Rustenburg, we believe in the power of working together, and it is through partnerships such as this that we can achieve real impact beyond the borders of our Rustenburg operations. Improving literacy and numeracy is crucial to enabling children to develop to their full potential and contribute to the future of our country as well-rounded, participative young people.”
Through this investment, Impala Rustenburg aims to cultivate a culture of reading in the community. Reading enhances vocabulary, builds self-confidence, supports the development of critical thinking and inspires creativity and self-expression. It is also a healthy source of entertainment for people of all ages. In addition, the libraries provide children with a quiet, safe place to study and do homework, and allow jobseekers access to facilities to update their CVs and apply for jobs online.
The Hon. MMC Cllr Gcingca, said at the Qumbu Public Library launch event, “Improving literacy levels in the Eastern Cape can be achieved through a spirit of collaboration and collective action. I would like to encourage parents to read to their children and make use of the public libraries in your area to help your children develop a love of reading.”
Learning to read is an important part of a child’s development and exposing children to books from an early age helps with their vocabulary development and language skills. Sadly, thousands of learners and adults don’t have basic literacy and numeracy skills, or access to libraries.
Hon. Mayor Cllr. Jara said, “Lack of access to books and other reading materials hinders reading in our communities. While the family plays a pivotal role in developing a love of reading in children, local government has a responsibility to provide them with the means to do so. These libraries are an important way in which we can support families in improving literacy in their households, and we are grateful to Impala Rustenburg for restoring our ability to provide our communities with books through the refurbishment of the libraries.”
For information on how to instil a love of reading in young children, UNICEF provides valuable advice.