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Cape Town pastor opens library to discourage gang life

A South African pastor John Nicolson has set up a library in one of the most dangerous and violent townships in Cape Town to encourage the reading culture among kids.

Pastor John lives in Lavender Hill, a township in Cape Town, South Africa, notorious for drugs and gang violence.

Pastor John started out with just 25 books and would place duvets and blankets on the ground so the children would have somewhere to sit.

The library has rows of books from fairy tales to encyclopaedias.

“The reading and the literacy of the children that come to the library in the afternoon has increased and this is what we want for their future that they must become intelligent children so that when they grow up one day if it’s God’s will and they go and find a job and their future; that their future must be bright because it starts now already,” John Nicholson, library owner and pastor said.

With already over 5000 books collected, members of the local community often also stop by the library to check out the books.

“This is exactly what he is doing, keeping the youngsters so busy they don’t have time to roam the streets, to sit in a yard, it’s to keep them away, to say to them, you can regardless of the fact that you are from Lavender Hill, poverty stricken, underdeveloped a disadvantaged area but nothing must stop the youth from reaching their ultimate goal,” Dan Plato, provincial minister for safety, Western Cape government said.

Pastor John works in the local diocese of the New Apostolic Church and says his faith challenged him to help find solutions to the problems his congregation faces.

The library also attracts children from migrant families in the neighbourhood.

About Chigozie Augustine

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