Jikani is the local outreach and community organisation situated in the heart of Hogsback Village. This weekend we are launching our latest achievement, the Funda Ukhule Reading room, and all are invited!! Wamkilikele! Funda Ukhule means Read to Grow, and we are delighted to announce that our dream to build a reading room in Hogsback has finally been realised!
This reading room’s goal from the outset was to create a safe space where the people of Hogsback could meet, do workshops with a focus on skills development, and use the space for literacy and reading programmes for the local children. The initial idea was to use the existing Kraal, which had a roof, and build the walls with eco-bricks, thereby promoting an eco-friendly way of recycling plastic as well as an alternative, creative way of building. The community of Hogsback and its environs, as well as participating schools (mostly East London), came together to support this objective and the required amount of bricks was nearly achieved, making this reading room truly a community effort. In the meantime, BUCO got involved and stepped in to supply the necessary building materials to complete the project. The eco-bricks were not only used to insulate the reading room walls, but have also been repurposed to make amazingly comfortable chairs!
The biggest outcome so far is that the famous Hogsback Library, touted to have been one of the smallest libraries in the world, has relocated Funda Ukhule – a wonderful asset to complement the literacy programme objectives. Whilst it is sad to have lost the title of the ‘littlest library’ in South Africa/the World, the library was in desperate need of a new home after the thatch was badly damaged in the rondavel at the old premises. This was a difficult decision to make, as the little library was well known and loved the world over. It has been an iconic building in Hogsback and been used as a library since the early 1930’s. However, Jikani has welcomed this positive move as it now serves young and old in a spacious comfortable centrally located building with lots of space!
The reading room is already buzzing with activity and a mums & toddlers group is using the space for regular story time. This is quickly becoming a popular weekly occasion for the younger children to meet and learn.
A real success is that the weekly lessons with the local school, Crabbush Primary School, has been expanded. In the past, the Grade 7’s came to Jikani for IT training once a week, but only 6 learners could be accommodated each week. This year all of the Grade 7’s (15 in total) are able to attend – offering an hour of IT training plus an hour for reading – so there are 2 groups that alternate between the 2 sessions every week! This means each learner has regular weekly sessions and offers them the opportunity to improve their English and literacy skills before they head off to High School. If the programme is successful, and there are enough volunteers, the literacy classes will be expanded to include the younger grades, hopefully encouraging a love for reading at an early age, which can only be beneficial to the learners in the future.
We are also hoping that the Funde Ukhule reading room will encourage growth on so many different levels! It was designed as a studious place where people are able to concentrate and study. The hope is that people will start using it for this purpose. As part of the concept for the use of the space, it is also intended to hold workshops, mostly focusing on skills development and educational talks. We have plans to hold CV writing courses as well as hospitality skills training, thereby making this space a place of growth and opportunity!
As the reading room currently has no electricity, we are fundraising to make that a reality. The Edge made a contribution towards the electrical installation at Funde Ukhule and has challenged other establishments and locals in Hogsback to do the same – this will definitely make Funda Ukhule a much more user-friendly environment with much needed lighting as well as heating for the colder months! This Saturday, the 23rd of February, we will be officially opening (9:30-11: 30 am) the Funda Ukhule reading room and we are planning a community party! There will be a talk on butterflies, a bake sale, a jumping castle for the kiddies and various crafters. If you want to come and sell your crafts, donate eats for the bake sale, or contribute to the fundraising effort, please contact Contact Gemma to make your pledge today!