ASSOCIATES (2008, July, v. 15, no. 1)


Mantombi Nogaya, Kwa-Dwesi, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

mantombi.JPGWhere do you work and what do you do?

I am Ms. Mantombi Nogaya a Resource Centre Co-ordinator at the Bantwabatsha Cultural and Community Development Resource Centre in KwaZulu-Natal, a non-profit organisation.

At the Centre I am responsible for running on a weekly basis a number of workshops and to see the overall running of the Centre. The workshops I run are:

* Culture awareness (revival of vanishing indigenous cultures)

* HIV and AIDS awareness

*Adult literacy programmes

* English classes

* Computer literacy

* Xhenophobia: the recent attacks of our foreign counterparts has made us realise that the growing youth need to be taught to embrace Africans of the other continents and not be threatened by them. The stereotype is they come here to do crimes and to take away South African’s jobs.

This is where the support staff also got involved extensively. The support staff also made provisions for shelter in the resource centre and asked for donations for food.

All of these above were inspired by the challenges that are facing the youth and the community of this region.

I also train volunteers who come and assist in the Centre.

How did you get involved in library work?

I got involved in library work since I finished school in 1995. In 1996, I enrolled for my National Diploma in Library and Information Studies. In 1998, I then went for my in-service training at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality Library and I graduated. In 2001, I again graduated with my B Tech in Library and Information Studies.

What do library support staff in your area do?

The library support staff really are the pillars of the library. They are the front line of everything. They give the most important impression about the library because they are the first faces library users see when they enter the building. The support staff is responsible for the outreach to the public and to make the public aware of the Resource Centre’s activities. They also are responsible for visiting the public in their homes and to bring the elderly and frail citizens good books to read. They also provide the soup kitchen for the impoverished.

The Resource Centre is now asking for donations to be able to carry out its activities to the community. The Centre needs anything that can be of use to the Centre and the community, such as: Books, shelves, tables, chairs, computers even food and clothes or anything that is a basic necessity. We have discovered that no one has the time for the luxuries of reading if they lack the basic need for survival.

We also offer what we call “Library Tourism.” With this service, we receive volunteers/visitors from local areas and other places. We provide free accommodations and catering services for them for the first month. Then, these library visitors and volunteers will get a chance for first preference in library vacancies that become available.

In December we are expecting 20 volunteers from the US and Europe.

Final comments

In all of my experience, I have learned that library work and/or community-based work is the kind of work that you do only if you love and enjoy the work. I really love my job and I never once thought of changing to another career.