New library set to empower youth

The Ubuntu Books group, from left, are Roelf Karelse, Mugamad Armien Vollenhoven, Saabirah Daya and Mbuso Masinga.

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is working with a Pinelands-based business school to open another library in Athlone, which, it is hoped, will keep more youth off the streets.

The Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) Education is a not-for-profit business school that helps people who cannot access opportunities.

The library will be based at the YMCA offices in Klipfontein Road, Athlone, and will be open to the public.

A group of TSiBA students, calling themselves “Ubuntu Books”, will be raising sponsorship for the project. The group includes Mugamad Armien Vollenhoven, Mbuso Masinga, Ndifelani Muthubi, Roelf Karelse, and Saabirah Daya.

The money raised will be used to buy new books for the library.

According YMCA facilities manager, Ryan Benjamin, the idea for the partnership came about when the association and others in Ward 49 noted that too few young people in the community were reading.

“YMCA then tasked the youth representatives to paint and stock the current outdated library. We then successfully managed to connect with the City of Cape Town library who gladly donated some stock,” he said.

However, Mr Masinga, one of the members of the group and a YMCA resident, felt more could still be done. He talked to both the YMCA and TSiBA about getting more stock for the library, including good quality books and other learning materials.

The group hopes to launch the library by the end of April, but a lot depends on finding sponsors.

Mr Masinga said the library would be open to the public, but would prioritise the youth of Kewtown.

“The library at the moment is restricted and with this venture we can make sure that they have the books they need,” he said.

Mr Armien said the library would have all kinds of books – children’s books, textbooks and adult reading books, among others.

“It won’t just be about reading, it will be a nice quiet environment to study as well,” he said.

Mr Karelse said the aim was to keep more youth off the streets by offering them a place to go after school. “The partnership benefits all parties,YMCA, the community and TSiBA,” he said.

To find out how you can become a sponsor, email Ubuntu Books at