I read the whole book from cover to cover as soon as I got home.

The poems lingered in my mind like dreams. Every word so specially chosen, perfectly placed in careful arrangement with the other words. They gave me a peaceful feeling of being adrift. I loved them.

I knew I needed to read his others and that our school library wouldn’t have them.

On Thursdays we leave school at two instead of 2:45, so on Thursday I caught a bus and went to the library in Langa, which is much bigger than ours and has computers with Internet, which ours don’t. I know they had a South African Poetry section from when I was there once before.

I arrived at 3pm, approximately. I turned the metal stile that lets you in. It was pretty empty.

“Hello,” I said to the librarian.

She looked up at me, just nodded, then went back to her phone. It surprised me that she could be so uninterested. Uninterested in this castle of books! How was that possible?

I walked among the shelves until I came to Poetry. There were only six books under South African Poetry. None were by the author I wanted.

I went back to the desk. “Excuse me,” I said to the librarian, whom I will refer to as ‘Miss Bored’.

She sighed as she looked up from her phone and looked at me. She didn’t say anything. She just said ‘What do you want?’ with her eyes.

“Do you have any books by Luto Fela?”

She pointed at a computer in a corner. “Try the reference computer.”

I was going to ask how to use it but didn’t feel like more of her sighing, so I just went to the computer booth, put down my bag, and began. Luckily there was a scrappy A4 piece of paper (blue, laminated) presticked to the wall, that gave instructions.

1. Press Enter to Login.

I tapped the ‘Enter’ key. A screen bounced up. It was mainly search options. They had the following:

1. Search by title
2. Search by category
3. Search by author
4. Keywords

I clicked on ‘3. Search by author’:

Luto Fela.

The search told me that there were three books by him:

Ghosts of Cattle
The Mist Within
Joys, Sorrows and Turned Out Pockets

He had two more poetry collections! I got a bit of a rush from this. It’s like finding out one of your favourite superheroes is getting a movie made of them. You feel pumped!

I clicked on the book called Joy, Sorrows and Turned Out Pockets because it had a cool name.

Next up came a screen listing the places his book could be found. The information was laid out in a list, like this:

Joy, Sorrows and Turned Out Pockets: poems

Fela, Luto.

Cape Town: uHlanga, 2015.


Observatory  SA 821.4 GAR  STACK  3003638738

After this, it listed the various libraries that had the book: Belville, Tygervalley, Wynberg.

Observatory was the closest location, and I knew how to get there.


Tell us: Is there a library close to where you live? Do you belong to it, and use it regularly? Why or why not?