Phumelela Primary School situated in Kwa Mashu, KwaZulu-Natal, was the proud recipient of seven stunning mobile libraries kindly sponsored by Novus Holdings. These innovative mobile libraries can be wheeled from one classroom to another which makes it easily accessible to all learners. The learners at Phumelela Primary come from communities which do not have access to a library and it is shown that access to libraries improves learners’ performance and increases their chances of success.

In September 2015, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga issued a call to all South Africans to make South Africa a reading nation, which was called the “Read to Lead campaign”. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) launched the one thousand school libraries campaign. One thousand libraries, reading corners or container libraries will be built or refurbished every year to ensure that by 2019 every school has access to adequate reading material, especially to encourage recreational reading.

As the most comprehensive commercial printing and manufacturing operation in South Africa, Novus Holdings operates a nationwide network of specialised plants.. Mike Ehret, Group Executive for Government and Africa at Novus Holdings advised that the Group was proud to partner with the “Read to Lead campaign” and urged all South Africans to come on board. We need to give books as gifts, read to our children and get them to read to us. This cannot be done in schools alone, we need to be reading in our homes as well,” said Ehret.

“By promoting reading, writing, and other academic subjects, we create a literate and educated society, which in turn provides for a safer, healthier, and more prosperous community. With the introduction of these mobile library campaigns, we are making great strides towards improving the literacy rate and making South Africa a reading nation” said Ehret.

Mrs H.N.P. Shange, Principal of Phumelela Primary, was delighted that her school was chosen by Novus Holdings. Shange advised that “the learners at our school are really passionate about reading, and learners are usually taken by public transport to the Kwa Mashu Municipal library. We are truly blessed to receive this gift from Novus Holdings, and are delighted that our young learners do not have to travel to the library anymore, as it was a cost to the parents, which they could ill afford. There is also a huge focus on literacy and the educators’ at Phumelela Primary have already started several programmes to improve the literacy rate at the school and these seven libraries will go a long way towards addressing this need”, added Shange.

The Department of Basic Education’s Director for Partnerships in Education, Mr Louis Taylor, added that “the DBE is highly appreciative of the contributions made by Novus Holdings in order to improve the quality of education in less privileged communities. Government cannot address the problems in education on its own and it is therefore important that the private sector come on board and assist in this regard. This is an excellent example of a public, private sector partnership in action” added Taylor.

The roll-out of the libraries was coordinated and managed by Ahmed Motala of the New Africa Education Foundation, an NPO that has partnered with Novus Holdings and the DBE.