Monday, 26 September 2011

Punished for Reading - A Cape Town Tale


 I was working at our library this week when the librarian confided the following story to me.....A young coloured boy, aged 12, who loves reading, failed his recent Afrikaans exam and his mother had forbidden him to take out any books from the library:  he must 'study' instead. The librarians had been informed to this effect, so when he arrived one afternoon and tried to bribe one of them with chocolate, he was sympathetically refused. One of his domestic chores is to babysit his sister's child so that she can study (she is 17), and he was seen on several occasions outside the library, carrying the child and looking longingly in. On another occasion, he managed to smuggle books out of the library but they were discovered at his home and he was punished with a sandwich, while the rest of the family went out to Macdonalds.  Finally, he was inspired to catch the local bus in the afternoon after school to another library within our circuit, where he could legally take out books and where the librarians don't know him.  He was found out eventually.  How sad is this? A youngster who loves books and his parents forbid him to read !!  Surely the mother could compromise and let him take out one English book and one Afrikaans. I'll follow up and let you know the outcome...

5 comments:

  1. I suppose she meant well. But still!

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  2. Poor kid! His love of reading needs to be encouraged! His problems with Afrikaans might, as you suggest, be addressed by reading more in that language. I wish a teacher or one of the librarians could talk to the parent. As Linda said, she probably means well, but this isn't the way to handle the problem.

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  3. Ah, each family handles their children differently, and in a diverse society, the differences can be striking. That child is part of his family, and he is expected to carry his weight and help out, while in another family, they only see that he is isn't allowed to follow his passion.

    An interesting dilemma.

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  4. I feel like sending the kid a CARE package of books. But at the same time, I understand his mother's wish for him to not fail at anything.
    This might be one of those "inevitable tragedies" of life.

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