It is expected for people to be late for an event, so when I arrive at the Hillbrow Library to find the area designated for the event empty, I am not surprised. The weather is partly cloudy with serious promises of rain.
Once I have tested that the projector is compatible with my laptop I start to raid the library. I start at the boldy labelled ‘South African Writers’ shelf, and find that half of the writers are dead, and most write about a South Africa that millennials don’t have access to. I immediately feel proud to be out and about on FunDza business, simply because of the stories FunDza has on offer.
But soon, the venue is packed full of learners, teachers and a few adults. I’m here at the eLearning Centre in the Hillbrow Library, courtesy of Johannesburg City Libraries’ Jeff Nyoka, who is innovatively introducing elearning opportunities to the communities of Johannesburg, to present FunDza and its online offering.
When I’m called up, I make sure to tell the learners that in the FunDza library, they will find stories about themselves, about their world, about their joys and challenges.
The learners range from grade 5 to grade 7. They are quick on their fingers, they want to win the prizes. As a result they’re listening attentively to everything I say.
When asked who of them owns a smart phone, over half of the learners raise their hands, and I know then, eLearning is not an innovation, it is a demand. Its market has arrived and is ready to savour it and it’s convenience.
After the presentation I opened the floor up for questions and because most of the inner city schools are attended by foreign nationals, one of the learners asked, “Why don’t the stories get translated into other African languages?” and because I didn’t have the answer, I promised to pass on the question to the relevant people.