It’s three weeks since Siyamthanda first visited. Since then, I have had people come to the library nine times. That’s three people per week. Well, more, because sometimes they bring a friend.

I’ve got lots of new stock, too. After telling Tankiso and the other students about my library, they gave me some books and a list of other libraries which might have sale piles and old titles being thrown out, and they are:

Observatory Library
Rondebosch Library
Woodstock Library
Vredehoek Library.

I’ve only managed to go to Woodstock so far because I can’t afford so many bus tickets in one month. But that one visit to Woodstock, I managed to grab 10 amazing titles. Among them are:

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. It’s really inspiring to see where Trevor Noah came from and where he is now.

Halala Winner, by The Jabulani Kunye team. It’s for younger children in Grade 4 or 5 but it was in a mixture of English and isiXhosa. It was so exciting to see a book written in the way we speak. I knew my neighbour’s daughter would love it. There aren’t enough books written in South African languages, Tankiso told me, and I believe her. But she and her team are doing something about it and I’m glad for that and maybe they will gift me more of their books.

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz. I was really excited to find this as it’s one I haven’t read in the series with MI5 spy Alex.

* * * * *

Tankiso came up to me during break on Thursday.

“So this library of yours,” she says.


“I’m very curious about it. Joko has his nose in that Norse mythology book like he’s sniffing flowers.”

This was a joke, so I smiled.

“Can I come and visit it?”

“Of course you can.”

“There’s something else I’d like to ask.”


“Well, you know how Kyle, Rosaria and me are doing our Masters in Education?”

“Yes, we all know,” I replied.

“Well, the thing is this: we’re very interested in what you’re doing. Particularly for my project. I’m interested in adolescent literacy, and to hear that a young person is running their own library is something that would tie in well with my research.”

I felt very shy suddenly.

“I’d really like to visit it,” she continued. “And Rosaria has asked if she can take some photos. If you like how they come out, and you let us, we might use one of the photos in our essays, which are going to be published.”

I thought about how meek my library was: just four boxes and about 12 books in a shed.

“It’s not really a library,” I said.

She gave me a funny look.

“You have books?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“And you have a record of the books you have?”

“Yep,” I replied.

“And … people borrow the books for a period and then return them by a due date?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what happens.”

“Then you, my friend, have a library.”

I just stared at her. Of course, she was correct.

As the bell rang to signal the end of break I thought carefully about what had just happened.

An academic had just asked to come and visit my library; the library I made by myself. She was going to bring some other academics, and they were going to interview me and take some photos and put the photos in their final essay (which is long and is called a thesis.)

I could hardly believe it. I felt a bit nervous.

I think anyone feels a bit nervous before someone comes and takes a look at something the other person has been carefully making. It’s like, you feel sensitive about it.

But there was another feeling brewing in me that was overtaking the sensitive feeling.

That feeling was a sense of pure pride.

And of a seed, a little seed under the soil, starting to sprout and grow.


Tell us: If you had a friend like Phelo, would you visit his library?