Literacy on the move thanks to Konica Minolta

For some, this may be an unnecessary day to celebrate, when reading this very article is second nature, but for the 78% children in South Africa who have a 29% read for comprehension ability, this day and awareness of the need for books, is key to solving our literacy crisis.

On World Literacy Day, which takes place on 8th September, corporates, NGOs and schools should all consider ways to pass on their “book-smarts” as well as books to those who are unable to simply purchase a book. The value of a paper-printed book passed on from one avid, knowledge-hungry reader to another is difficult to quantify. 

Some corporates go well beyond an annual book donation, and are tireless in their ongoing support of literacy in SA. One such organisation is Konica Minolta South Africa. Konica Minolta continues its efforts to connect the youth to access literacy aids by partnering with the Edu-Care Foundation, through the impactful Konica Minolta Mobile Library. The Mobile Library has, since 2012, created a platform for young urban and rural area learners to access a variety of books and other literacy resources.

This Mobile Library not only assists these eager young minds with the completion of their homework, but also provides a safe sanctuary to develop a love of reading. The books on offer are also regularly changed to facilitate more stimulus and options. The Mobile Library uses Edu-Care’s distinctive R.E.A.D formula (Respect, Education, Attitude and Discipline) to provide a safe and effective resource base and minimal learning disturbance.

The Mobile Library has provided a service to several impoverished community schools and is operational three days a week between 08:00 and 16:00. The Mobile Library also acts as an IT centre for the youth as it is equipped with state-of-the-art Konica Minolta multifunctional printing devices, allowing students greater creative freedom when working on school projects through these additional printing resources. The children are also able to access technology which they may not have in their homes or at school.

Recently Konica Minolta’s Mobile Library was a key partner in Jozua Naude Primary School’s writing competition. The competition was open to the school’s Grade 7 learners in Roodepoort and the learners were very eager to participate. The learners were required to write a short story with a title that they related to and that they felt inspired them. The best four stories were selected by the school, thereafter the Mobile Library librarians interviewed the learners together with the Principal, Mrs Motsoane, and, based on the learners’ story rationale, a final winner was selected. Each of the winners received a book as a prize.

Marc Pillay, CEO of Konica Minolta South Africa hopes to have more learners participating in future and to encourage more learners to write inspiring stories. ‘My hope is that one day their future stories will be published and they can inspire more children to let their imagination flow. There is still such a great need for beautifully printed African stories. We also provide technology though, as we also see the importance of ensuring integration with technology to enable higher literacy and comprehension rates in this country.’

According to Beverly Peters, Literacy Manager at Edu-Care, ‘The overall winner Owethu will become the Ambassador for The Edu-Care Foundation, which includes The Mobile Library, the libraries at the schools and all our Reading Corners in Gauteng. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Konica Minolta to make these initiatives possible.’

The winning students:

First place – Owethu Xaba – The Thunder Storm

Second place – Karabo Malatji – The End of Water

Third place – Katlego (Rachel) Maepa – Mvini Bidi

Fourth place – Goapele Tselanngwe – Life was never easy