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

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Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni takes a look at some of the donated books.

Approximately 10,000 books were initially donated, along with musical instruments, to a music and creative arts collective in Bulawayo run by the Bluez Cafe which promotes youth education and particularly supports young people with musical ambitions .

However, as the cafe’s resources grew, the books became “underutilized”. Rather than gathering dust, the cafe decided to donate the books to public libraries to allow thousands of city residents to continue to benefit from this generous donation.

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

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

“The Bluez Café, which our initial donation supported, is growing stronger as a center that inspires young musicians and other creative types.

“Its success in these areas means the books weren’t intended to be used as much as the Bluez Café staff originally intended.

“At the end of the day, there’s no better place for a book, or even 10,000 of them, than in public libraries.

“All those associated with the Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund are delighted that the people of Bulawayo continue to benefit from our donation.”

Solomon Mguni, Mayor of Bulawayo, added, “The city is grateful for the partnership and the steps taken to improve knowledge and literacy in the Bulawayo community.

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

The Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund, which is supported by schools and other organizations in South Tyneside, 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 general practitioner in the town.

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