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[Digital Edition]


 Community Library: Ganawuri, Central Nigeria by Dr. Jim Gala  BTA Icons: Interview with Melissa Myambo  Book Review: Chimanda

Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Half A Yellow Sun’ by Lynn Weston

 Nasihohi: African Proverbs of the Month  Interview: Books To Africa Director, Tonson Sango  And More: Book Collection Points, Scholarships, Competitions Unit E10, The Storage Centre, Menzies Road, Old Park, Whitfield, Dover, Kent. CT16 2HQ United Kingdom • W: WWW.BOOKS2AFRICA.ORG • E: INFO@BOOKS2AFRICA.ORG • T: (+44) 7583500935

Contents 1: Kent Union Volunteering (pg. 2) ‘BUILDING THE NEXT GENERATION THROUGH EDUCATION.’

Book To Africa: Contributing to who? (pg. 3) From the Editor’s Desk (pg. 5)

Unit E10, The Storage Centre, Menzies Road, Old Park, Whitfield, Dover, Kent. CT16 2HQ United Kingdom Telephone: +447583500935 Email: This newsletter was published by Books To Africa™-Recognised as a Charitable Company by UK HMRC. Books To Africa is making a difference through charitable initiatives that contribute to improving the educational experience of hundreds of African students. Published by: Books To Africa Digital Edition (Online Version) Part of Quarterly Newsletter (Sep –December 2012) Cover and Layout Design: Tholani A. Alli Editor: Tholani A. Alli Contributors: Tania Steere, Tonson Sango, Melissa Myambo, Dr. Jim Gala, Lynn Weston Cover Photograph: © Ngongoroad. Back Page Photograph: © Laura Arntson

Info: About Books To Africa, Future Goals and Charity Ethos (pg.6) The Ganawuri Testimony by Dr. Jim Gala (pg. 10) Exclusive BTA Icons Interview: Melissa Myambo (pg. 22) Interview with BTA Founder, Tonson Sango by Tania Steere (pg. 25) Info: About Nasihohi (pg.28) Nasihohi: September Proverb of the Month (pg. 30) ‘Learning Something Whilst at School: Catching them young by Tania Steere (pg.32)

Contents 2: The 2012 Canterbury Festival (pg. 33) Nasihohi: October Proverb of the Month (pg. 34) Be Creative: The Marlowe Theatre (pg. 36) Book Review: Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’ss ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Lynn Weston (pg. 37) Nasihohi: November Proverb of the Month (pg. 38) Student Voice of Kent Union: Student Officer’s (2012-2013) (pg. 41) Nasihohi: December Proverb of the Month (pg. 44) How Do I Volunteer with BTA (pg. 45) Black History Month: Africa Channel, UK (pg. 46) BTA Essay Competition (pg. 48) Momentum Men’s Debate: (pg. 49)

Call for submissions: Those interested in writing blogs, articles, literature reviews and stories for this newsletter, please contact for more information.

o We are the voice of all students at the University of Kent; we represent our members to the University, the communities in which they live and to wider society through our membership of the national student movement. o Volunteering provides a way of giving your time and skills to help others and to progress yourself. o You can be a volunteer at university - whether it's running a society, getting involved with student media or becoming a mentor. o You can volunteer in the community - working with disadvantaged people, getting experience in your field of study or helping the environment. You can even volunteer from home with research roles and online mentoring. Contact Us: Kent Union Mandela building University of Kent Canterbury CT2 7NW Phone: 01227 824200 2


From the Editor’s Desk: “Karibu! I must say it’s a privilege to be speaking to our reader’s for the first time and to all those involved within Books To Africa. This newsletter is designed to be imaginative as well as informative. Visual combines with text to convey in creative and colourful ways all the initiatives and projects BTA are engaging in and with.”

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the BTA newsletter. This quarterly series of the Books To Africa Newsletter issue marks the beginning of a transition which merits a separate acknowledgement in honour of a colleague. Or in more simple English; a big ‘Shout Out’ to Tonson and the rest of the board for their involvement and support towards the publication of this Newsletter. One purpose of this newsletter is to help you make sense of what Books To Africa is about and exactly what we are doing at this very moment of time. Within this Newsletter; we catch up with Melissa Myambo (One of our BTA Icons) and the Forerunner and founder of BTA, Tonson Sango. The main focus however ventures around the ongoing Library project within Ganawuri and how this serves local primary and secondary schools within the area. The importance of having books collected is matched with the books being re-used for a good purpose; this, we want you our readers to be made aware of. Also we must not forget that we are a Charity organization. A unique one too; one not reliant on money but more on books. Volunteerism is important as we will show how we are involved in they are involved in the daily processes of the organization. African culture and traditional wisdom is highlighted within this newsletter as the African Proverbs section shows us; and so too our partners that help us financially; you will see them in our ads. Lynn Weston reviews ‘Half a Yellow Sun’ by Chimanda Ngozi – Check it out! A good read! Tania Steere meets with the BTA Founder and also offers good insight into the some of the problematics within our education systems. We hope you find this newsletter informative and entertaining, and we welcome your comments. This newsletter is provided free of charge. If you would like to continue receiving it, or if you would like us to send a copy to someone you know, please turn to the subscription information on this page of the website or contact the admin. Tholani Alli, Editor


About ‘Books To Africa’    

Who are we? Goals and Objectives: How we work? How are you involved?

Books To Africa exists to make quality education freely accessible to all. By donating books to African schools, colleges and universities, students of all age levels can have access to quality books which are relevant to their class and discipline. For those who can’t afford an education, we run public community libraries and learning Centres where youths can learn enroll in a variety of free vocational courses which are delivered by national and international volunteers. By acquiring essential life skills, such as literacy, communication, ICT and sports, African youths are empowered to pursue and actualize their ambitions in a globalized world.


Aims and Objectives 1. Capacity Building: We aim to contribute to the development of education in Africa by donating new and used educational books to help build the capacity of primary school, secondary school and university libraries. 2. Community Ownership: Establish and support free Community Libraries run by volunteers in areas in need. 3. Special Needs: Establish Special Educational Needs (SEN) Centres in Africa to promote the education of students with learning difficulties. 4. Female Education: Improve the level of female literacy in Africa through educational programmes and scholarships for primary, secondary and university students. 5. International Volunteering: Promote multicultural peer-to-peer learning through International Volunteering Schemes (IVS) 6. Celebrating Success: Recognising the efforts of people who are contributing towards making a difference in African education and society. Such people include; African scholars, educators and civil society actors who are making an impact in the area of educating and empowering the next generation of Africans. 7. Strong Partnerships: Partner with organisations such as Libraries, Book stores and publishing companies to build sustainable educational networks between Africa and the world.

Books To Africa (BTA) is a charity in the United Kingdom which was started by African students at the University of Kent, Canterbury in January 2012. Inspired by their experiences of the educational system in Africa, as well as passion for the continent’s development, the Books To Africa Initiative has being a success at the University. Just 3 months after it became registered, the BTA student led volunteering group at Kent university was nominated for the “Best New Society” at the annual Kent Union Awards 2012. They had collected over 1,500 books and raised nearly £500.


Looking to acquire skills in the non-profit sector? Want a certificate to add to your CV to impress employers? Why not join our team of enthusiastic volunteers and help make a difference in Africa. Here is how: Books To Africa Representatives: Become one of our highly dedicated Student Representatives and start a Books To Africa volunteering group or society at your school, college or University. a. Check our website to make sure a BTA society does not already exist in your institution b. Contact us via email or phone to register your interest in becoming our School, College or University Representative c. Attend a training meeting to be arranged with our staff d. Complete registration of society


BTA student volunteering societies are responsible for the following: a. Raising awareness about BTA through online media (such as Facebook), print media (such as fliers) and events. b. Collecting books from donors and shipping them to our collection centre. This can be achieved by establishing a collection point (e.g. in the library, student union building, or student residence) where donors can drop-off their books. c. Updating us on the progress of your group (e.g. growth in membership, up-coming events etc.)

From there, BTA continues to grow and are currently receiving book donations from two universities (Kent University and Canterbury Christ Church University), two colleges (Cambridge Arts and Sciences College) and one bookstore (Blackwell) in the South East of England. We are currently working on building our first community library in Africa.


Small but Mighty! The Ganawuri Testimony By Dr. Jim Gala


Small but Mighty! The Ganawuri Testimony


anawuri, a collective of eight village areas in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau state, has at least eleven different tribes resident and/or indigent: Aten, Firan (Kwakwi), Takad (Attakar), Atyap, Irigwe, Berom, Chawai, Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, etc. It is a strategically located border community lying on the south-western fringe of the Jos Plateau, sharing boundary with Kaura Local Government Area in the Southern Kaduna region. The predominant tribe in Ganawuri is Aten; Ataa Aten as the

paramount ruler Government Area.




Approximately the community is located on latitude 80 35’ E and longitude 90 N; it has a total estimated population of sixty thousand, six hundred and twenty seven (60,627) people (1990 census figures). Sitting on altitude 1,400m at its highest point and 1,000m at its lowest, the community enjoys eight (8) months of annual rainfall (April through November), which is heaviest in the months of July and August, with double Ganawuri School Children


maxima and a diurnal high of 1,500mm – the highest on the Plateau. The land, though limited, is very rich for cultivation and grazing.


ecause of its versatile agrarian productivity, and owing to its strategic border location, the community is a vibrant market for numerous agricultural produce ranging from crops to livestock of diverse species, and serving communities in Plateau and Kaduna states. The Aten is a very proud breed of people. They fought fiercely to preserve

their unique identity and survive the prejihad invasions of the Habe Kingdom, i.e. Hausa States (Queen Amina’s expansionist wars) and the Caliphate jihad of Shehu Othman dan Fodio. The people have a rich culture which has retained some of its original forms despite incursion of western civilization and globalization. The dominant cultural forms celebrate the seasons; in addition to commemorative festivities such as the Wuru DaGarang, an event marking the descent from the caves to the plains at the onset of the coming of Christianity. Pupils and Teachers at Dantse Study Center!



anawuri is a community with a largely youthful population. The Atenn nation, from time immemorial, has always relied heavily on its youth for economic and social sustenance. In the days of intertribal warfare, it was the youth who formed the resistant army that defended the Atenn territorial integrity; the youth are often the most vibrant section of society where farming and food production is concerned; the youth are on the hunting expeditions each coming year; the youth are actively involved in Atenn traditional engagements and political arrangements; etc, etc. It is significant to add here that the population of Atenn is largely very young. Young people far outnumber the aged. Thus, the nationwide youth crisis is even more threatening among the Atenn. Western education, which has become the key to modern gainful employment, has dropped to an all-time low among the Atenn; traditional peasant farming which formed the backbone of the ancient Atenn nation has fast deteriorated due to increasing land scarcity following a population explosion; other traditional economic activities are equally on a rapid decline: pottery has practically vanished, with Atenn needs for domestic utensils such as pots, pails, cans, etc, all long taken over by the coming of plastic and aluminum products; Atenn craft, which is pertinent for the people’s subsistent agriculture, is fast fading to

the background; fishing, which was an annual festival observed by all clans of the Tenn nation, has since disappeared as if there never was a fish in the pond; while hunting, which was also an annual rite of thanksgiving, is simply no more! The sum result is stagnation; an escalating situation of despondency, redundancy and deepening poverty levels. The need, thus, is to focus on the development of Atenn youth. And education is one sure way by which this can be achieved.

Atenn Traditional Economic Practices


he Atenn people are primarily agrarian. Farm practices such as subsistence crop production, small-scale poultry and animal husbandry accounts to, perhaps, over 70% of the total economic output of the community. Smithing, craft, commerce and basic hunting also form part of the economic output of the Atenn people. One of the fundamental structures for driving internal governance and development among the Atenn is the zamm, i.e. age-grade system. Labour has traditionally been organized along the age-grade structure, while social relations have also thrived on the system. However, the Atenn zamm culture has since become out-of-date in view of modern developments in 13

technology, science and the arts; and owing to a laxity in some quarters of the population – it is sad to note that, today, some zamms which hitherto were vibrant in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, have become moribund; it is commendable that some zamms have survived despite all challenges.

The Ganawuri Potential for Development



he Atenn are a gifted people. Atennland is naturally well endowed with rich arable land; a

strategic network of numerous fresh water sources; a booming commercial center; a rich and dynamic culture; breathtaking scenic beauty; and a moderately temperate climate, to mention but a few of the natural attractions. A look at the performance of Atenn sons and daughters at school with peers from other tribes would show that the Atenn is made of outstanding intelligence: from the days of old when the pioneer elites of Ganawuri attended the Kano Institute of Hygiene, through the era of upper and lower middle schools at Foron and Riyom, to the days of decorated Atenn performances in schools such as GC Keffi, TTC Toro,

GSS Kuru, Craft School Pankshin, Bukuru Technical School, BSS Gindiri, GHS Gindiri, GTC Gindiri, GSS KatsinaAla, GSS Otukpo, GSS Riyom, etc, to the era when our people finally made it to the universities, the record of Atenn academically has been nothing short of sterling. Adu Deme today remains one of the best vocalists to ever have graced the musical scenes of Nigeria; a son of the soil, Gala Gabriel Gala, at a very tender age played football for the Canadian national teams at all levels – he played at the FIFA world Cup, and scored the only goal the Canadian senior national team recorded against Real Madrid in a friendly encounter following the global tourney. You name it, we got it!

blessing; the serene topography, and the very clement weather of Ganawuri is truly special; you name it, Ganawuri has the potential. But, alas, we have failed in our generation to harness all of these potentials toward the development of the community! Ganawuri Festival Source: Laura Arnston


ut beyond the human resource level, the economic potentials of Atennland cannot be anything but lucrative: the crop species that thrive in Ganawuri are rare and special – Ganawuri chwen (accha), nkpana (tamba), mampa, garaza, nchwele, and paddy rice are without doubt a brand in themselves in the markets on the Plateau and beyond; the organic nature of most of its agricultural produce is unique; the bird species are marvelous to behold and study; the animal breeds that thrive in Ganawuri are among the best anywhere in Nigeria; the copious rainfall of dual maxima experienced in Ganawuri is exceptional; the available surface water flowing in streams and rivers that never dry is hugely a 15

Self Help Development History anawuri community is geographically delimited by huge granite mountain ranges which ring it on its northern, eastern and southern borders, leaving a narrow western trough that flows into the Southern Kaduna plains. Land is scarce, especially in view of rapid population growth. As a result of this natural delimitation, succeeding generations of the peoples of Ganawuri have evolved internal mechanisms for self help and


community development. These development projects have for generations been hinged around social structures which have made the people unique. Perhaps the most significant of these structures are the Community Councils and Age Group associations. These two structures have been driving the community’s internal governance and development, respectively. Recently, modern styled community organizations have started springing up to buffer the efforts of these age old structures. These new forms, such as the Tenn Heritage Foundation, have been galvanizing the community through

Public Community School, Ganawuri 16

self help initiatives in the area of health interventions and cultural revival. Being a collective of largely minority tribes, Ganawuri has suffered audacious marginalization from both local and state

governments. As a result, the community has over the years, diligently applied itself, through self-help community development projects (using the existing social structures), to drive its own development and governance.

Public Community School, Ganawuri


erhaps owing to the intricate and inclusive nature of its internal social arrangement, Ganawuri community is one of very few communities in Plateau state that have managed to remain peaceful despite

protracted and widespread violence in the state. This has in part been the result of a determined stance on the part of the people to continue to co-exist peacefully among themselves, regardless of clan, creed or religion. Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP), an NGO operating in the community, has described 17

Ganawuri as “an island of peace in a sea of crises”1.

Community Councils


ll the eight villages of Ganawuri are delineated into several subcommunities (or wards), each of which has an existing Community Council, known as Toyy. All the Toyys form part of the central umbrella Council of Aten, known as Torong a-Tenn. These Community Councils hold regular and periodic meetings at which matters that affect all are tabled for open discussion, without bias to age or gender. Resolutions and any matters arising from these meetings are usually taken to the central Council (Torong) for further deliberation and final resolutions. This delicately hierarchical arrangement ensures that all have equal opportunity to participate; that every issue is thoroughly deliberated upon at various levels; and places the people in a position that is not unduly subjugated to the official Traditional rulership at respective levels; the overall result is that internal democracy is visibly strong and faithfully adhered to.

Age Group Associations 1 “CAPP Partners Community in Unique Peace Initiative”; 2011



he zamm or Age Group is perhaps the most dynamic of all the social structures existing in Ganawuri. It is a multi-task formation mutually charged with spearheading internal democracy and development. All members of any particular age group are equals, no matter the social and material status of individual members. Perhaps as old as the community itself, the age group is a platform that performs many tasks primarily with a communal focus: organising the community labour force; mitigating for conflict resolution; mobilizing for community development projects; mobilizing for security alertness/maintaining the peace; adjudicating in traditional litigation; courtship and nuptial arrangements; mentorship and communal skills transfer; etc. Leadership of these groups is by popular democratic ballot. The Age Groups/Community Councils mobilize resources periodically to implement projects, usually agreed upon by the community at a Council meeting.

Community Projects


anawuri has for decades had a Community Hall which was constructed in the early ‘80s by the Torong in collaboration with the Students Union at the time. Though this hall was recently affected by a rainstorm which blew off the roof, it has regularly

served the community during Council meetings and provided the venue for social occasions.


he community also built classrooms and toilet facilities in the local schools: GSS Ganawuri, GSS Bum, the government primary schools at Dantse, Danto, Bum, Koroneho, Danu nWal, etc. Young graduates of tertiary institutions from the village also organize free tutorial/prep lessons for interested students/pupils. Presently, and as a means of facng the challenges of incessant civil service strikes in the state, the community is mobilizing resources to cfloat its own Community school; the plan is to set up an integrated academy where learning will begin from kindergarten to secondary levels. The various arms of community governance are currently brainstorming on the best way to achieve this.

ago, a community foundation, the Tenn Heritage Foundation, has regularly executed structured medical outreaches that catered for free and comprehensive eyecare (eye surgeries, refraction, diagnosis, treatment, referrals, and follow up); free maternal and child health; free surgical procedures; free general consultation, prescription and drug administration; as well as free testing for vital signs and HIV/AIDS.


hrough initiatives of the Torong and the zamms, the community has contributed immensely to developing the community health sector by way of constructing ward blocks at the public health center; setting up of village health committees that regularly inspect and oversee sanitation and management of the health facilities in the community; and provide volunteers on a regular basis and as need arises to help the professional health workers, who are in very short supply. And most recently, commencing from five years

Article Author: Dr. Jim Gala

Development Issues And Challenges 19


anawuri is a community that has remained sidelined in terms of public infrastructural provision, especially from local/state governments. Ironically, there is far more strategic federal presence than there is of the state/local governments: the community is connected to the national electricity distribution grid; there is a Trunk ‘A’ road traversing the community and linking the Plateau to southern Kaduna state; the only state road was constructed to provide feeder access to the viable market of local agricultural produce such as crops, chicken and cattle.


here are also some public schools and primary health centers dotting the cluster of communities, but not equipped enough with provisions and personnel (teachers; public health workers; etc) to cater for the growing population. All said and done about existing public infrastructure and its shortages, there are a number of cardinal development needs and challenges facing the community.

Development Needs/Challenges


ndependent needs assessments carried out by Aten Development Association, Tenn Heritage


Foundation and NGOs working in the community has identified a number of needs facing the people. The needs are many, of different priority levels: poor infrastructural provision; scarcity and high cost of agricultural inputs; poor road network; lack of skilled personnel; low literacy level; poor disease control; political exclusion; to the non existence of structured marketing channels to enable community producers of cash crops and other wares maximize their profits.

Community Efforts to Tackle the Challenges


eing a minority community in the state and local governments, the people of Ganawuri have long since realized the disadvantage of their numbers and minority status, and strived to seek ways of advancing in spite of the challenges. The people have, through self help/direct labour efforts contributed to infrastructural provision: construction of classroom blocks; hospital wards; toilets in schools, health centers and the market place; local feeder roads and connecting culverts.

Funding/Sustainability The people have always organized themselves, not only for community labour on development projects, but also for resource mobilization for funding of such projects. The zamms, community councils, and other community based groups form the primary sources for mobilizing such

resources. Finances are usually sourced through communal/individual levies; per capita dues; public launchings; individual support; and group contributions (notably the zamm and Tenn Heritage Foundation). These internally generated finances enjoy a buffer from the very buoyant Yeneng Microfinance Bank (the Aten Community Bank), to which all community groups own shares, as well as individual members of the community.

The Pupils! The Fulani child benefiting! A Challenge to the Tenn Child! 21

BTA ICONS: Interview with

Melissa myambo

Zimbabwean Writer and 2012 Caine Prize Nominee Melissa Myambo reveals some interesting things about what she is up to, interests and her growing excitement to be part of the ‘books to africa’ as an icon. Can you tell us one of your favourite books during your childhood and why? I am in my 30s now so it’s hard to remember  because there were so many! I tended to love tales that educated me whilst expanding my imagination.

Unfortunately the Zimbabwean education system grew out of the British system which promotes hierarchy (prefects, head girls etc.) and attempts to break the student’s will. It promotes mindless conformity over a curious intellect and this has far-reaching consequences.

What would you say is the greatest challenge about being a female African writer?

Can the standard of education in Africa be better improved?

I think that both African readers and “western” readers bring a lot of baggage to African literature. There is a lot of pressure to “represent” and often people take one character and want him or her to stand in for all African people.

Of course. The standard of education can be improved everywhere. Besides, there is no such thing as a static state of “being educated.” As human beings we are all on a lifelong journey of continuous learning and should perpetually seek to become more knowledgeable.

Tell us about your most recent work? I am currently completing a new collection of short fiction called Airport Stories. I am also revising a draft of a novel called Stand Clear of the Closing Doors which is about four twenty-something friends living in New York although they are always taking trips to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Senegal and Brazil. One of the friends, Tay, a Korean who was adopted by a white American family, commits suicide, forcing his friends to reevaluate their life choices. Were you educated in Africa? If so, what was it like? Yes. I did most of my primary and secondary education in Harare, Zimbabwe.


What is the greatest challenge that African women face within the diaspora? Obviously the usual suspects like racism and sexism negatively impact women of the African diaspora and as a result, they often suffer from low self-esteem. However or perhaps I should say because of this, women are also responsible for (re)creating some of their own challenges. For example, women in Africa, the diaspora and even globally raise their male children to dominate their female children. It begins with making the girls do housework while the boys are left to play. My story Deciduous Gazettes deals with these issues.

What inspired you the most to support Books To Africa as an Icon? I am very honoured to be a ‘Books to Africa’ Icon! Thank you so much! I would like to help in any way possible to improve access to education and reading. I was very saddened to hear that the Encyclopaedia Brittanica would no longer be published as a print edition and was moving to an online only version. How will the digital version reach rural libraries with no electricity or internet access? Noone can donate old copies of a digital book. I hope that Books to Africa will be an initiative that can work to bring books to populations that may be disenfranchised by the increase in “digital apartheid” in which there is a growing divide between those with internet access and those without. Print books can help to ameliorate this divide. Outside of reading and writing; what are some of your other interests that many may not know about you? I am a huge tennis fan!  What advice would you give young people who are interested in becoming writers? I would advise them to become good readers firstly. It’s very important to read widely and read well. I am always reading about ten books although I don’t always finish them all as I am a very slow reader. Right now I am particularly enjoying Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Oscar Wilde’s plays and Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah whose short story collection An Elegy for Easterly is just fabulous!


Staff Profile: Tonson Sango By Tania Steere

What does your charity do/how does it help people? Books To Africa (BTA) is a student-run charitable initiative in the United Kingdom. It is currently registered as a Student Led Volunteering Group at the University of Kent and is in the process of being registered as a society at Canterbury Christ Church University and other universities and colleges across the United Kingdom. BTA helps to improve the quality of education and female literacy in Africa through; the donation of academic books to educational institutions; the construction of free community libraries in rural areas; and the running of scholarship schemes for female students. BTA also provides an opportunity for students in the United Kingdom to gain invaluable skills and awards by volunteering to; collect books, raise awareness and visit our projects in Africa.

What do you think is the biggest reason for poverty in Africa today? Lack of education is the main reason why large parts of Africa still remain poor and underdeveloped. With one of the highest levels of male and female illiteracy in the world, Africa cannot expect to tackle poverty without empowering its youths through education. Although there are many schools, colleges and universities in Africa, more than half of these educational institutions are severely lacking the much needed teaching resources required. With the exception of a few privately run institutions, students in Africa do not have sufficient access to resources such as books, computers or laboratory equipment, which are all crucial to learning. As such, graduates from most African institutions can hardly compete with their counterparts in the developed world. Africa’s economic renaissance can only begin with an educated population, one where the majority of the population who live on under $1 a day, have equal access to knowledge. In achieving this, the various national governments must support the efforts of non-governmental organizations working in the educational sector.

What do you think is the best way to eradicate poverty? Free and compulsory education should be introduced to tackle the lack of education at an early stage. In particular, primary education is so crucial because it is at this stage that basic literacy and numeracy skills are acquired. Every African child, irrespective of their gender, their family’s financial position, or religious background, ought to be entitled to these basic skills in order to significantly increase their chances of securing any kind of employment in the future.


What is the current living situation like for Nigerians who live in rural areas? Nigeria is one of the richest and most developed African countries. However, life can be incredibly difficult for more than seventy percent of the population living in rural areas. Without access to the modern infrastructure often found in towns and municipalities, most villagers live an agrarian life style where they depend on farm produce on a daily basis. Rural areas are often separated from the city population by miles of poor road networks, isolating village dwellers from access to education, housing, health care and security. Children growing up in villages especially in Northern Nigeria have to attend school and be educated under the most unimaginable conditions – classrooms without roofs, desks or chairs, no access to text books, computers or sports facilities. This is exactly why Books To Africa aims to build free community libraries in rural areas.

Is the lack of primary education the main obstacle to eradicating poverty and hunger? Yes. Like I mentioned earlier primary education is crucial because children acquire key literacy and numeracy skills which are both essential for securing the future of a child. However, secondary and tertiary education are also equally important for eradicating poverty and hunger. Education in Africa must become less theoretical and more practical – integrating volunteering or placement schemes that allow students to develop hands on experience of their subject. Furthermore, this should be matched with a concrete investment by national governments into graduates who want to start up their own businesses.

Does access to good quality primary education help promote gender equality and empower women? Absolutely. A child takes on board 100% what he or she is being taught at primary school. This is why it is important that children have quality teachers and quality books, both of which help impart values such as gender equality and religious tolerance into them at an early age. Furthermore, BTA contributes to empowering women through scholarship schemes that are exclusive to female students.

Is education enough to eradicate poverty or do you think they need real world experience outside the classroom as well? Education must become more holistic than it currently is in Africa. Many students go through four years of university training as a medical doctor or lawyer without ever actually being in a position to experience their profession. Furthermore, education has been limited to a narrow and exclusive system of examinations and grades. Students are pre-occupied with their scores as opposed to the acquisition and application of knowledge. achieved, that students in Africa can become truly empowered to tackle poverty and other challenges to Africa’s growth and development.


Do you think education should include entrepreneurial skills so that they can start their own business? Yes definitely. However, African governments must also put in place the infrastructural and financial structures needed for entrepreneurship to thrive. In particular, stable electricity and adequate transportation networks will go a long way towards encouraging individuals to start-up companies and organizations which have the potential of employing many more in the future. Also, national governments should offer substantial financial investment and technical support to graduates who have strong business plans.

Can you give me a case study of a young person that your charity has helped through education? We are currently working on building our first free community library in July 2012. To be located in Ganawuri community in North central Nigeria, the library will host over 3,000 books and will serve over ten primary and secondary schools within and around the community. Although use of the library is free, paid services (such as printing and photocopying) will be offered in order to cover the cost of running the library and sponsoring ten primary school female students from the community.

What would life be like in Nigeria without the help of your charity? Nigeria’s and Africa’s future is much brighter as a result of our work. We are looking for organisations and individuals to partner with us in building the next generation of Africans through education. Please visit our or email us ( for

website ( more information.

BTA UNIVERSITY OF KENT STUDENT COMMITEE: President: Edward Johnstone ( Secretary: George Grundy ( Treasurer: James Morgan ( Volunteering Coordinator: Laura Deprez ( IT and Logistics Officer: Vacant for further information email president.

Books To Africa National aims to: 1. Improve the level of female literacy in Africa, especially in West Africa and other English speaking African countries 2. Bring education out of the privileged system and into the less-privileged society, through the support and development of public libraries. 3. Improve the standard of education in Africa by establishing transcontinental institutional partnerships between UK and African university libraries 4. Promote multicultural peer-to-peer learning through the sharing of educational and intellectual resources between UK and African students. Kent Union's SLVG endeavours to help accomplish these aims by raising awareness and collecting book donations on behalf of the national charity. General Meetings: Vary in time and date, members will be emailed details in advance. 27


“NASIHOHI” in the Hausa language means “GOOD ADVICE”; and is designed to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation of the older generations through African proverbs which give advice, counsel and teach. Branding African Traditional Wisdom; Nasihohi currently produce culture guides for Tourists, Give Seminar Presentations for Students and Staff across various Sectors, Offer Consultation for various institutions and organizations within the Global Educative Sectors. Nasihohi is primarily involved in branding Africa’s rich and colourful traditional heritage through the use of Traditional Wisdom and Proverbs that teach, instruct and morally inspire listeners worldwide. SOME ORGANIZATIONS WE CURRENTLY WORK WITH INCLUDE: Foreign Office, Travel Agencies, African Exhibitions, Voluntary Organizations, Youth Groups, Showcases, Anthropologists, Paremiology initiatives, linguistic departments, University Departments and more. For further information, comments, suggestions and partnerships with our service; please contact INFO@NASIHOHI.COM or click our ‘MAKE A QUERY’ tag on our website WWW.NASIHOHI.ORG 29

Luganda is the major language spoken in Uganda by the Baganda. A tonal language, Luganda is an indigenous language made up of different dialects but etymologically with a common phonetic stem of the Baganda people.

Kinabuti: In Our Ghetto Source: prospect photographers

Learning Something Whilst at School: Catching them young By Tania Steere African schools are concentrating on their best performing pupils at the expense of youngsters who may prove to be just as talented if given a higher quality of teaching. In Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s book, Poor Economics, they highlight two key steps in the social and economic progression of Africa; the first is to provide a free and compulsory education; the second is to assure that the standards of the education are good enough to benefit every student and not just an elite few. Tonson Sango, the founder of BTA, said: “Education has been limited to a narrow and exclusive system of examinations and grades. Students are pre-occupied with their scores as opposed to the acquisition and application of knowledge. It is when the latter is achieved, that students in Africa can become truly empowered to tackle poverty.” Children have embraced schools in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana where primary education has been made free to all. UNICEF figures show that between 1999 and 2006 enrolment rates in sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 54% to 70%. Children attending school is important, but they also need to learn something worthwhile whilst they are there. BTA also aims to improve the quality of education in Africa through the donation of educational books, the construction of libraries and running scholarship schemes for female students. An intense focus on basic skills is necessary to prevent underperforming students falling behind and leaving education early to work in the informal sector, where they will earn approximately $2 a day and continue to be trapped in a cycle of poverty. “Poverty leads to an intolerable waste of talent,” said Amartya Sen, Indian economist and the winner of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. “Poverty is not just a lack of money, it is not having the capability to realise one’s full potential as a human being.” BTA aims to empower youths to actualise their ambitions by providing free teaching to those who cannot afford an education. BTA will provide literacy, ICT and sports lessons taught by volunteers in one of their learning centres or libraries.

Author: Tania Steere Journalism Student, University of Kent ( Medway)


Canterbury Festival is Kent's International Arts Festival, the largest festival of arts and culture in the region, and one of the most important cultural events in the South East. The Festival attracts an audience of over 70,000 people of all ages to free and ticketed events, drawn from across Kent, London and the South East. With over two hundred events in two weeks there is something to suit everyone from classical music to contemporary dance and from comedy to world music with theatre, walks, talks, visual arts and much more. To find out about the origins of the Festival and the development to its present day format, see the History of the Festival. Alternatively read about our plans for the future under Director Rosie Turner, as we strive to take the Festival to new levels of excellence and enjoyment. For more information:, Information: 01227 452853, Booking: 01227 787787 33

Shona is spoken by the indigenous Shona people of Zimbabwe. Shona dialects include: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. Shona is mainly spoken in Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia; and also in Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana.


It is the hardworking and determined that excel with the pursuits and opportunities of life; whilst the idle and comfortable settle for the mere comfortable necessities much of the masses aree content with.

Victoria Falls Cruise in Zimbabwe Source: Alice Bator


‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ Book Review By Lynn Weston This novel has an interesting approach, with its structure of three characters' lives being interwoven during Nigeria in the 1960s. The three people are very diverse; a young houseboy representing African folklore, superstition and authenticism; a young educated, almost aristocratic woman, who represents modernity and forward-thinking; an Englishman caught up in the middle of the Biafran atrocities. It’s beautifully written with an awareness of all the senses – sounds, colours, scents bring the scene to life. The novel is harrowing in places, and very shocking in its portrayal of what was really going on during the Biafran war - tribal warfare at its most brutal. Universal themes across the spectrum of human emotions and actions bind the narrative: friendship, betrayal, loyalty, love, horror and forgiveness.


November 2012 Wo wo nnipa, na wo wo adee. (Twi) If you have people, you have wealth. Without living in fellowship a person cannot grow.


A person cannot live alone. A person's beauty is that person's willingness to meet fellow humans. According to Akan Culture; a person who forsakes association makes a mistake.

Akan, also known as ‘Twi’ is the principle native language of the Akan people of Ghana. It is also spoken in Côte d'Ivoire (known as Abron )and in Benin (known as Tchumbuli).

US President Barack Obama’s Historic Africa Speech in Accra, Ghana on July 11, 2009 Source: GhanaReview and AFRICOM


 Scheduled Flights  Quality Flights

Thomas Cook Canterbury 9 High Street Canterbury CT1 2JH. Telephone: 0844 335 7143. Fax: 0844 335 9143

 Tailored For You

Student Officers: Kent Union is led by students and these pages introduce the students who have been elected to do this. There's a mix of full-time officers (who take a year out during or after their degrees to work for Kent Union full-time) and part-time officers (who volunteer alongside their degrees): Union President VP Activities VP Education VP Sports VP Welfare

Tom Ritchie Kenny Budd Alex Murray Matt Harris Colum McGuire

01227824215 01227824213 01227824228 01227823074 01227824217

Part-time Officers 2012/13: Students with Dependents Officer Emily Guille-Marret Mature Students Officer Kimberley Francis Part-time Students Officer Sophie Baker Environment Officer Tom Currie Ethics Officer Adam Harding International Students Officer Victor Gomes Cavalcante RaG President Nick Shields Undergraduate Humanities Faculty Rep Priyanka Sinha Undergraduate Sciences Faculty Rep David Aylward Undergraduate Social Sciences Faculty Rep Courtleigh Smith

Liberation Officers: LGBT Officer (Open Place) LGBT Officer (Women's Place) Ethnic Minorities Officer Students with Disabilities Officer Women's Officer

Karl Lewis Kara Stubbs Natasha Brown Jonjo Brady Megan Wells

Student Committee Presidents: Darwin President Ryan Falle Keynes President Misha Upadhyaya Eliot President Emily Slade Rutherford President Lorcan O'Duffy Parkwood President Amy Graduate Student President (GSA) Claire Powel


December 2012 Tata ye mama bakinu zinga, zaya ntalu ya kwanga. (Kongo) Know the price of Kwanga whilst dad and mom are still alive. Learn whilst you still have the opportunity.


Kwanga or Chikwangue is very important Bakongo food in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo, made from cassava flour and wrapped in wide forest leaves, then boiled in a pot for several hours.

kiKongo is a language spoken by the Bakongo and Bandundu people living in the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola.

Kikongo Children Source: Wo Andrea 010/05/06/bukumbi-kikongo-ii/

----------------------How do I volunteer with BTA? IN THE UNITED KINGDOM Books To Africa Representatives: Become one of our highly dedicated Student Representatives and start a Books To Africa volunteering group or society at your school, college or University. a. Check our website to make sure a BTA society does not already exist in your institution b. Contact us via email or phone to register your interest in becoming our School, College or University Representative c. Attend a training meeting to be arranged with our staff d. Complete registration of society BTA student volunteering societies are responsible for the following: a. Raising awareness about BTA through online media (such as Facebook), print media (such as fliers) and events. b. Collecting books from donors and shipping them to our collection centre. This can be achieved by establishing a collection point (e.g. in the library, student union building, or student residence) where donors can drop-off their books. c. Updating us on the progress of your group (e.g. growth in membership, up-coming events etc.) REWARDS For all the time you put into volunteering with us, we reward your hard work through the following ways: A globally recognised volunteering certificate from vInspired. To get this, you must log your volunteering hours on their website ( Reference letters from us to future employers Become a Books To Africa Youth Ambassador and get paid to represent us at conferences and events. To become a youth ambassador, you must: Be a university student or graduate Logged over 1000 volunteering hours Visited one of our projects in Africa 44



with flying colours and full university status.



‘moMENtum’ is a Men’s Debate; where real talk discussion, debate and listening takes place. We focus on the contemporary issues and questions that guys of today face and are being asked all the time. This is done in a straightforward and simple manner. This event carries a Christian Ethos and is open to all. Drinks and refreshments will be made available. For More Info on our next debate: Thursday November 15 th 2012, please visit:


Wuru Dagarang Festival in Ganawuri, Jos Plateau, Nigeria Š Laura Arntson

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inAfrica Magazine  
inAfrica Magazine  

This magazine was published by Books To Africa International - A registered charity (1152599). BTA is making a difference through charitable...