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South Africa

People Reading on Mobile Phones in South Africa: 42,750

People Reading on E-Readers in South Africa: 2,200

Book Languages Available: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Sesotho, isiXhosa, Zulu, Hindi, SwahiliShow More, UrduHide (source: Ethnologue)

South Africa Population: 54 Million

South Africa GDP: $371 Billion

Languages Spoken: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sesotho, Tsonga, Tswana, VendaShow More, isiXhosa, Zulu, Birwa, Camtho, Flaaitaal, Gail, Hindi, Khwe, Korana, Nama, N|u, Oorlams, Ronga, Seroa, Swahili, Swati, Tswa, Urdu, XiriHide (source: Ethnologue)

Adult Literacy Rate in South Africa: 94%


Learn about our e-reader programs in South Africa:


Get Ahead Project School
Get Ahead Project School South Africa

Location: Queenstown and Whittlesea, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: Leacock Foundation Canada

Launch Date: May 2013

Students and teachers: 110 students, 6 teachers

Number of devices: 120 Wi-Fi Kindles

Students’ grade level: Primary 2 and 4

Types of books: Textbooks, storybooks, and reference materials

Deployment model: E-readers in a classroom set

Do students take devices home: No

The story:  The Get Ahead Project (GAP) school offers hope by meeting the educational needs of children from local townships in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa. It began in 1992, by a group of local parents who were frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to enrol their children in English-speaking state schools and took it upon themselves to create GAP. The school has grown from a handful of students meeting in a garage, to over 1,300 students Grade R to Grade 12, on three campuses. The Leacock Foundation became involved with GAP in 2002, and in the past ten years has completed ten major facility upgrades and expansions to address the wait lists that exist at each grade level. Recognizing technology as a way forward, GAP is thrilled to partner with Worldreader and to use the e-reader project as a solution to the challenge of getting appropriate reading materials and text books into the hands of many deserving learning.

Mdatya Primary School
Mdatya Primary School

Location: Port Edward, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: AdvancEd and The Matthew E. Russell Foundation

Launch Date: July 2013

Approximate number of students and teachers: 1100 students and 25 teachers

Number of devices: 50 Wi-Fi Kindles

Students’ grade level: R (Kindergarten), 1-8

Types of books: Textbooks, storybooks, reference materials

Deployment model: E-readers in a library/learning center

Students take devices home: No

Other notable points: Not only is this the first library for the school but also for a community of 100,000 students in this district.

The Story: The school and the surrounding Eastern Cape community has never had a library before, and the concept of a library in this community doesn’t exist here. When the community members, district advisors and officials were informed about the project, nobody believed that people were actually going to do this. However, the school has now entered the list of schools fighting illiteracy and building reading enthusiasm among elementary school students. Thanks to the initiative led by the Matthew E. Russell Foundation and Advance Education Inc, about 1,100 students and 25 teachers will access digital textbooks, storybooks and reference materials through a library and media center. In addition to putting 50 Kindles in the school library, the Matthew E. Russell Foundation has also provided the physical space for the library, paper books and three computers. This project means a strong positive impact for the community within the district of over 100,000 students, where the Mdatya Primary School is situated.

Albert Street School
Refugee School Outside

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: World Missions Possible

Launch Date: Summer 2014

Students and teachers: 585 students, 24 teachers and administrators

Number of devices: 25 Wi-Fi Kindles

Students’ grade level: Secondary

Types of books: Textbooks and reference materials, especially hard sciences

Deployment model: Library

Do students take devices home: No

The story: The Albert Street School, located in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, was shut down in 1958 during the Apartheid era. It recently reopened in July of 2008 as a refugee school under the direction of Bishop Paul Verryn and the Central City Mission. The school now teaches Grade 1 through 12 and comprises approx. 585 refugee children (mainly from Zimbabwe but serving students now from 12 nations). The staff of 21 teachers, 3 administrators, 5 cooks, 2 guards, one secretary, and one maintenance staff person are all refugees from Zimbabwe. There are currently 120 unaccompanied minors –without either parent or any guardian.

Bakubung Economic Development Unit (BEDU) Library
 Bakubung Economic Development Unit (BEDU) Library

Location: Ledig, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: International Book Project

Launch Date: October 2014

Approximate number of students and teachers: Library serving an area of over 30,000 local residents and students from six surrounding schools

Number of devices: 75 Wi-Fi Kindles

Types of books: Textbooks, storybooks, and reference materials

Deployment model: Library

Students take devices home: No

The Story: The Bakubung Economic Development Unit’s (BEDU) education initiative aims to create a self-reliant, well-educated and sustainable community in Ledig, where the Bakubung live, by addressing information technology needs, training and skills development, teacher support, school healthcare provision and promotion of arts and culture. There is not a single library for hundreds of miles around the region. E-readers from Worldreader have provided an affordable solution to accessing reading material.

Stanford SPS
Stanford SPS

Location: Bizana, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: Matthew E. Russell Foundation

Launch Date: May 2014

Approximate number of students and teachers: 1100 students and 24 teachers

Number of devices: 25 Wi-Fi Kindles

Types of books: Storybooks, fiction/non-fiction, and reference materials

Deployment model: School Library

Students take devices home: No

The Story: The Stanford SPS was established for kids who struggled to reach schools in other nearby communities due to the distances they had to walk. The school is located in Mbizana, an area populated with rural dwellers (farmers) who are identified as the poorest of the poor. The school campus has been built one structure at a time and continues to struggle with limited funding. Currently the school has over 1,000 students but only 24 teachers and 12 classrooms. Installation includes: 25 e-readers, 5 computers and printers, furniture, bookcases, hundreds of traditional books for preschool, early readers and upper primary. This is the third library The Matthew E. Russell Foundation has built in its efforts to provide libraries in underfunded, urban township and rural areas to increase student literacy levels, improve teaching methods, and build community support for education reform.

Zamokuhle JSS
Zamokuhle JSS

Location: Bizana, South Africa

Sponsoring Organization: Matthew E Russell Foundation

Launch Date: May 2014

Approximate number of students and teachers: 868 students and 24 teachers

Number of devices: 25 Kindles

Types of books: Storybooks and Reference Materials

Deployment model: Library

Students take devices home: No

The Story: Zamokuhle J.S. School (Nomlacu Village in Bizana, Eastern Cape). The school was established by the community in 1984 because kids would have to travel a great distance to school. The first two blocks of the school was built by Department of Education and the Independent Development Trust and has since grown significantly. The school and the surrounding community has never had a library before so this is seen as a huge boast to help promote literacy. Thanks to the initiative by the Matthew E. Russell Foundation and Advance Education Inc, about 868 learners and 24 teachers will access digital textbooks, storybooks and reference materials as well as hundreds of traditional books. The library is also technology rich, equipped with e-readers (25), 3 computers, 2 printers, and a 46 inch flat panel monitor. This project means a strong positive impact to our community, says Basanda Panda, Worldreader Project Manager.


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