Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries is operated out of a Public Library located in one of the poorest, driest parts in Zimbabwe – Gwanda district in the province of Matabeleland South. In 1992 the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Trust established the library to honour the memory of the Member of Parliament for the area who died after a life-long commitment to the nationalist movement. Its initial aim was to carry on his work for the development of Zimbabwe. In 2012 it celebrated 20 years of providing service in Gwanda town and in 27 rural communities in the district surrounding the town.
Gwanda district is hot and dry with low and irregular rainfall, making the region unsuitable for cropping agriculture without irrigation.
The slightly better areas are commercially operated ranches, while in the poorer parts with even less rainfall communal villagers struggle to subsist on herding cattle and goats.
Every year they plant maize, sorghum, millet, groundnuts and pumpkins but only one in four years produces a decent crop. There are several gold mines in the district, two large ones close to Gwanda town and many small diggings.
Many of the young people have emigrated to South Africa – often illegally – and the more successful ones are able to send some remittances to help their families.
Gwanda town, with a population of 60,000, is the provincial centre but has no industry. Rather it is an administrative and distribution centre for the surrounding areas and a stopping point on the road from Bulawayo to South Africa.
It has several educational institutions – Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic which includes a teaching training course, nurse and other health workers’ training at the provincial hospital, and a centre for Zimbabwe Open University which is a correspondence university.
The library has four major programmes
There are no other public libraries in any of the towns of Matabeleland South Province.
Some secondary schools have libraries and there are a few rural communities that have some form of library service provided through other NGOs. The majority of the people have no access to library services except through the Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries.
Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries strives to be the leading information resource centre in Matabeleland South Province providing quality services to individuals, communities and institutions that promote sustainable educational, social and economic development through creative problem-solving, thereby serving as a model for Zimbabwe.
Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries believes in the power of information as a catalyst for development. Hence we make adequate, relevant and up-to-date information available to all people without discrimination, we assist the people to use the information effectively, and we stimulate a reading culture within the society that broadens horizons and minds.
Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries pursues the preservation of the historical and cultural legacy of the region thus upholding the use of local languages and keeping local history alive.
A library service is a centre for disseminating information
A library service is essential for a balanced education
A library service can promote democracy
A library service can promote development
A library service is a human right!