Umgqom’wolwazi is a Zulu word that basically means: “Bin of Knowledge”. The aim is to change the narrative. At Siyafunda we believe that a great library doesn’t have to be big or beautiful. It doesn’t have to be the best facility or the most efficient staff or the most users. Umgqom’wolwazi aim is to provide free and easy access to children’s books, anytime, everywhere, all the time. It is unconventional in the life of a community in a way that makes it indispensable. Umgqom’wolwazi is one nobody notices because it’s a crazy unconventional idea by Siyafunda Donate a Book programme.

The Siyafunda team have established 40 libraries in rural schools across the country since 2015 and after witnessing the damaged trash cans or dustbins somewhere in Pretoria, we saw the need to convert these trash cans or dustbins into bin libraries that can store more than 800 books. The bins have always been there, and will always have what our people need: (ulwazi-knowledge). We are not saying that the bin is the solution, but it will spark the minds that will come up with the solutions for our people’s problems. Umgqom’wolwazi wants to serve South Africa’s geographic landscape which is divided into 3 spheres: The first idea is to fill up the bins with children’s books and drop it informal settlements community art centres within the Gauteng province. The second plan is to donate these bins to rural schools, as classroom corner libraries.

The plan is keep refilling the bin with more books every week. Umgqom’wolwazi will be focussing on developing the community as a whole with programmes encouraging reading aloud, reading clubs, group forming, spoken word art through books, African values, the art of happiness, community book clubs to focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, comprehension, concentration, communication, critical thinking, confidence, promoting safe and secure communities through sustainable recreation programmes, and to promote social cohesion and nation building. We’ll always need printed books that don’t mutate the way digital books do; we’ll always need places to display books for talks; but we’ll not always need brick and mortar libraries when there is “umgqom’wolwazi”. One small step for a trash can, one huge leap for all South Africans in ensuring that children read for fun anywhere, anytime, everywhere and all the time. We call it umgqom’wolwazi.


To provide free and easy access to reading material for children everywhere, all the time.


Create, transform and maintain a culture of reading throughout South Africa and beyond.


To build Umgqom’wolwazi library that will provide information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge based society.

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  • Date : December 20, 2017