In 2019, Sindeka Mandoyi, a resident of Philippi, Cape Town, initiated the Chosi-Chosi Book Club in an effort to impart her love for reading.

Each Saturday, a modest shack near her residence becomes a hub of youthful exuberance, resonating with the laughter of children engrossed in stories ranging from fairytales to narratives involving arithmetic with the Chosi-Chosi Book Club.

Guiding approximately ten children, aged between noon and 2 pm, Mandoyi employs an interactive approach, initiating activities like counting to stimulate their readiness for the reading session. The club’s name, “Chosi-chosi,” derived from isiXhosa, reflects the traditional storytelling opener, akin to “once upon a time.”

Motivated by a dearth of book clubs in the township and a concern for children struggling to read for meaning, Mandoyi, a 29-year-old marketing writer, launched the club. The venue, a shack near her home, is a makeshift arrangement, as acquiring a suitable space has proven challenging.

Financing the book club and children’s outings primarily from her own resources, Mandoyi acknowledges donations from friends, colleagues, and organizations like Nal’ibali and Book Dash.

The setting during a recent visit included children gathered on a mattress adorned with a blanket, engrossed in “The mouse, the cock and the cat.” Following the story, Mandoyi facilitated a spelling exercise based on its content.

The makeshift bookshelf, a short wooden plank supported by concrete bricks, holds around a dozen children’s books, including titles like “The Fox and the Grapes,” “Wanda,” “Seldom,” and “Sebenza.” The shack’s walls are adorned with images of shapes, fruits, vegetables, and words in various languages.

Mandoyi remains committed to fostering a love for reading among Philippi’s youth, despite the challenges posed by the current space constraints.

Mandoyi acknowledges substantial support from parents, with some expressing interest in private tutoring for their children at the present time.

While the book club welcomes all children, Mandoyi aims to concentrate on providing lessons tailored for students in grades 2 and 3 starting next year.

In her instructional approach, Mandoyi emphasizes diverse learning methods beyond traditional reading. As a matter of fact, sessions incorporate activities such as singing, dancing as a prelude to stimulate the body, and organized excursions.

A recent outing included a trip to the movies to watch “The Little Mermaid.”

Expressing her aspirations, Mandoyi envisions the expansion of the Chosi-Chosi Book Club. Her long-term goal involves extending its reach to other townships, with Khayelitsha being a potential target for growth.


Photo cred: Pexels: Kaboom Pics