Reading into the future

The library drew lots of attention in the opening week.

A new library which opened recently in Imizamo Yethu is already struggling to find space to store its books.

The library was officially opened on Wednesday September 2, much to the delight of children in the community, who could not wait to get their hands on some new reading material.

Behind the idea is Silke Rylands, who is originally from Germany, but settled in Constantia about five years ago.

She received a donation of books from a friend, which sparked the idea to start a library in an unused container out in IY.

“I thought how will I distribute the books and that was actually what inspired me. Then I checked if we can use the green container in IY for that purpose and started a call for books on different Facebook pages,” she said.

Ms Rylands felt the need to do more for communities and therefore decided to launch Ubuntu Charity e.V, which went on to help small businesses get started, ran soup kitchens, organised job training and even started a tuition programme for about 40 children. The library is the organisation’s latest project.

“Through lockdown we gave out food parcels and last week the library opened. We also bought building material after fires. Then last year, I decided to officially register the charity in Germany to be able to issue donation certificates,” the founder and chairman of the charity said.

In the build-up to the launch, Ms Rylands had linked up with locals to discuss the idea, which was enthusiastically supported.

Beauty Bendle from IY answered the calls and immediately got involved with the project.

She said the idea came at the right time, as crime had started taking over IY and something positive was needed to keep the children occupied. “It’s very good for our community as our kids have a lot to learn and at least the library is close to them and they will be off the street because we’ve got lot of crime in IY,” said Ms Bendle, who is also the library assistant at the new library.

Last week Saturday, she spent the morning handing out books to nearly 40 children who lined up to grab a new book.

“I’m feeling so happy about the opening of the library and this is going to help so many of our children,” she said.

After securing the container, they bought new book cases and shelves, sorted all the books and cleaned up the container.

Ms Ryland said although they aimed to offer as many books as possible, they will soon run out of space.

“In the long run, we need our own space that we can use whenever we want and to have more space.

“The container is also used for other things like our tuition programme and community meetings. Therefore we must always lock everything away and we cannot open the library all day even if we wanted to,” Ms Rylands said.

Anathi Kuhle, 13, who was at the opening, said she would be spending most of her free time reading.

“The children are very excited and we are all looking forward to seeing what new books come to the library,” she said, adding that she was into children’s books.

Anybody willing to assist or donate towards the library can contact 063 009 5393 on WhatsApp or email or make monetary donations using Paypal via