Thousands of South Tyneside books take pride of place in libraries in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe

Thousands of books donated by South Tyneside residents eight years ago will now benefit people living in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe after being gifted to 10 public libraries.

By Neil Fatkin
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 6:24 pm
Solomon Mguni, the mayor of Bulawayo, casts his eyes over some of the donated books.
Solomon Mguni, the mayor of Bulawayo, casts his eyes over some of the donated books.

Around 10,000 books were originally donated, along with musical instruments, to a music and creative arts collective in Bulawayo run by the Bluez Cafe which promotes youth education and in particular supporting youngsters with musical ambitions.

However, as the cafe’s resources have developed, the books were becoming “underused”. Rather than gathering dust, the cafe decided to donate the books to the public libraries to enable thousands of the city’s residents to continue to benefit from the generous donation.

They were originally donated by South Tyneside College’s Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund as part of its “Classroom in a Container” project.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Read More

Read More
Grant helps South Tyneside charity teach young people at risk

Les Watson, 70, who helped found the charitable fund, said: “It’s very good news that the books we donated have found a new but still educational use.

“The Bluez Café, which our original donation supported, is going from strength to strength as a centre which inspires young musicians and other creative types.

“Its success in those arenas means the books were destined not to be used as much as staff at the Bluez Café had originally foreseen.

“At the end of the day, there’s nowhere better for any book, or indeed for 10,000 of them, than in public libraries.

“Everyone associated with the Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund is thrilled the people of Bulawayo are continuing to benefit from our donation.”

Solomon Mguni, the mayor of Bulawayo, added: “The city is grateful for the partnership and the steps made in enhancing knowledge and literacy in the Bulawayo community.

“We would like to thank Tyne Coast College and its staff and governors for extending the donation through the Youth Contact Centre and Nhimbe Trust. We look forward to your continued support.”

The Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund, which is supported by schools and other South Tyneside organisations, helps students and good causes at home and abroad.

It is named after Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom, who was born in South Shields in 1766 and became a notable town GP.

A message from the editor:

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling South Tyneside’s stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe - and click here to get a snapshot of the Gazette’s news and sport to your inbox through our email newsletters.