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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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Posts: 819

« on: October 20 2010 »

Dear Tonga Online

I would like to commend your project for the improvement it is making
in the promotion of access to ICT.

The bringing of Internet Service to the Binga community at the Binga
Community Library deserves an accolade. It will go a long way in
improving the livelihoods of the Binga District community, especially
that of women.

The fact that Binga Library is a public access point will encourage
more women to explore the Internet freely for the purposes of research
and communication as opposed to having to beg for the service from

Now Binga District can no longer be seen as backward in terms of
technology, not that it was backward since it already had access to
ICT through the computers which were donated to schools but there was
no way of proving this technological advancement to the world except
through word of mouth.

 Now thanks to your project for bringing internet, i can now do my
research, link up with the world and prove to the world that Binga
District is not that backward after-all.

Thanks yet again.

Tendayi Ngundu

« Last Edit: October 20 2010 by Peter Kuthan / AZFA » Logged
Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 819

« Reply #1 on: October 20 2010 »

Dear Tendayi,

Thank you very much for your feedback to the establishment of a Public Access Point to ICT at Binga Community Library. In particular I like the notion that women will have now easier access to research and communication.

I have put your comment onto the website www.mulonga.net
and hope that you will agree.

More feedback and postings are most welcome.

best wishes

Peter Kuthan
« Last Edit: October 20 2010 by Peter Kuthan / AZFA » Logged
Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 819

« Reply #2 on: April 19 2011 »

...as Zimbabwe observes World Book and Copyright Day

While Zimbabwe’s adult literacy rate is pegged at the highest level in Africa, the country’s general reading culture is still vague.

What then does the high literacy rate constitute or means?
At least several events have been held to weigh up the paradox of this issue in Zimbabwe.

At an event marking the annual Book and Copyright Day on April 12 2011 at the Book Cafe, Harare, the role of the library in the development of reading culture came under scrutiny.

This event coincided with the US Embassy’s celebration of the annual American Library Week which runs from April 10 – 16 under the theme, “Create your own story at your Library.”

One of Zimbabwe’s finest authors Petina Gappah led the discussion at the BookCafe under the theme “Reading Zimbabwe.’ Co-panellists were distinguished writers Ian Holding, Blessing Musariri, and publisher Murray McCartney who stood in for David Mandishona who was reportedly out of the country.

Gappah, who also Chairs the Harare City Library Board, took the time to explain latest developments that are taking place at the HCL. These developments include digitalizing and the move into schools by HCL to boost young readers’ interest in books.

How can we make young people want to read? Various suggestions were made but the writers present decried the advancement of technology as the main setback, although technology is expected to have been used to advance reading culture.

Gappah, supported by Blessing C R Musariri, observed that in the 70’s when there was no other form of entertainment (e.g. Internet, Facebook, etc,) youths took up reading for pleasure seriously. These were the days when the Literature Bureau, which writers are still mourning, had mobile school bookshops/libraries. The writers said this was a period when also serialised Shona novel reading was done on the radio.

However, the world of digital entertainment swept reading aside, replacing it with fast and addictive technology systems.
Ian Holding, a schoolteacher by profession, reiterated the need to invite young people into the reading world. His sentiments were echoed by McCartney who added that the worst crime for the people of Zimbabwe is to ignore the value of/in reading.

Although publishers and libraries have networked on a number of occasions, McCartney said lack of funding has been a major hitch. However, he said his publishing company (Weaver Press) has been lucky at times to receive donations from embassies enabling it to send books to schools and libraries.

Virginia Phiri, author of three books, also present, encouraged other writers and the general public to urge their families to read.

No proper answer was given as to on what basis was the high literacy rate decided. Some said it was decided upon the number of students enrolled in schools but others just couldn’t figure out what it meant to have a high literacy rate in the country.

On the same day (April 12), librarians drawn from different institutions converged at the US Embassy in Harare to celebrate the annual American Library Week.

The librarians talked about their roles, services on offer, achievements and challenges they have met in their efforts to develop a literate society.

Farai Madondo from Harare City Library said although the HCL was in dire straits in terms of infrastructure, the library has managed to keep itself abreast of new library trends in the world.
The HCL, which has ten branches across the city, falls under the Department of Housing and Community Services.
Madondo said the main thrust of the HCL is to ‘develop the total person’ and over the past years, the library has taken care of different kinds of users. Visitors from abroad who are pursuing their research projects in Zimbabwe also use the HCL.

“We also donate old books to rural school libraries and under-privileged communities such as the Matthew Rusike Children’s Home in Epworth,” said Madondo.

However, the story was different from school librarians who were present.
They said economically, their school libraries were suffering. With the few books in the school library, their schools have established stringent control systems to try to preserve the little they have. For instance, library users are closely monitored so that books are not stolen/ taken out of the library. Book borrowing is prohibited in a bid to keep the few books intact.

The school librarians appealed for assistance to quell the loss of reading culture in schools.

Other librarians who made presentations at the US Embassy’s American Library Week celebration included Edwin Madziwo, Senior Assistant Librarian at Zimbabwe Open University, Rutendo Brian Kutiwa, Client Services Librarian at Africa University, Alfred Gumbwa, librarian at the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and various other librarians from different institutions. Gumbwa presented a paper titled ‘The Role of a Special Library in Capacity Development’ which touched on ACBF membership and some of its unique services offered to about 35 countries affiliated to ACBF.

Kutiwa said this year the Africa University is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Jokomo/Yamada Library established in 2001.

He said the anniversary, running under the theme “10 Years of Excellent Information Services”, will see them participating at this year’s Zimbabwe International Book Fair and the Harare Agricultural Show.
The Embassy’s American Resource Centre Director Mr. Stephen B Mushonga said the Library Week celebration succeeded in creating focused debate and platform for sharing information about various libraries in Zimbabwe.

Concurrently, every year on April 23, the world observes World Book and Copyright Day to pay tribute to writers while hundreds of campaigns aimed at promoting readership and protecting authors’ works are conducted across the globe.

By Beaven Tapureta

source WINZ newsletter # 18

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