Kwandile Sikhosana (25) is the founder and chairperson of the Daveyton Book Club and with the success of the programme, he is intent on making in impact in South Africa.
Compiled By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
The young community developer from Daveyton, in Ekurhuleni, is a true testament that making one simple change in your community can inspire many to reach for their greatness. Since he founded the Daveyton Book Club, in 2015, he has led a movement that aims to empower his people using education as the main tool.
The book club has collected two million books through sponsors and establishes mobile libraries to distribute them at affordable prices.
Apart from the book club, Kwandile is also part of a major initiative which is trying to establish a University in Ekurhuleni.
Blacklight spoke to the young man who dreams of being the future President of South Africa.
Blacklight: What drove you to start the Daveyton Book Club?
Kwandile Sikhosana: For apartheid to leave generational scars in the lives of black people they had to engineer a plan that would under-develop people and ensure that they are inferior to their white counterparts – and the main vehicle to drive this was to deprive black South Africans of education. Its 2017 today and apartheid was abolished but black parents and children still can’t read and write. With the book club we plan to aid remote communities across Africa with libraries and book clubs so that every African child is be able to take the destiny of a developed Continent into their own hands, as opposed to being reliant on foreign donors.
Blacklight: What is your main intention with the programme?
Kwandile Sikhosana: The main intention is to build resource centers (Libraries and Schools) in townships and rural areas that have the same service level as private schools. Create employment opportunities and also capacitate more entrepreneurs in Africa.
Blacklight: What are some of the things you have learned about the culture of reading and books in the townships, since creating the programme?
Kwandile Sikhosana: The notion that blacks don’t read is not entirely true, as reading isn’t a cheap hobby to adopt, it’s probably cheaper to be a soccer player as opposed to be an avid reader. Books are extremely expensive when you don’t have initiatives, such as ours, which afford poor people to adopt this hobby for roughly about R1 to R5 A book, even University Textbooks.
Blacklight: What have been some of the great things you have achieved through the programme?
Kwandile Sikhosana: We have achieved a great deal since we started and one of which would have to be when we educated 500 people in project management through the sponsorship of Inseta (Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority). These people come from very poor backgrounds and had no means to be afforded tertiary education and seeing people graduate through the initiative was a blessing. We have also represented South Africa at the African Union and British Parliament and now our Deputy Chairperson will be representing the initiative in London at a conference with Richard Brandson and Rita Ora.
Blacklight: I believe you are part of a duo that’s working towards establishing a University in Ekurhuleni. Can you tell us more about that?
Kwandile Sikhosana: I was representing the Daveyton Book Club on LeadSA (Radio 702) and one of the callers asked me if I would like to work with him in establishing a University. I received correspondence with everything he has done thus far and together we started drafting plans of how to execute this mega project and the University Initiative was born. Ekurhuleni is the only region in the Continent that doesn’t have its own University to aid its people and we have 19 townships, 9 towns, the largest Airport in the continent, yet, we don’t have a University that will aid the skills deficit that we have in the region. Our plan is to be able to afford people access to higher education that’s closer to their homes. The Building already exists, making this even cheaper as compared to starting something from scratch.
Blacklight: What inspired you to be a community developer, instead of just following the more traditional route?
Kwandile Sikhosana: This is not a career to me but my purpose in life. I could have been anything in this world but I chose this route as everyone has a road to travel and mine is to serve the people in the best possible way, and that can only be achieved through living a purpose driven life.
Blacklight: Was this always your dream or was there specific event that pulled you into this direction?
Kwandile Sikhosana: I have always envisioned myself in a position of power so that I can able to service people with my ideas. I wanted to be a Chief Justice at the constitutional Court, hence, I went to study law but now I have presidential ambitions.
Blacklight: What motivates you as a young black man to live a life that is of value to your community?
Kwandile Sikhosana: I’m motivated by the people I’m around. The Deputy Chairperson, Sarah Madingwana, of this initiative is a person I work closely with and seeing all her dreams become a reality invokes pride in me for being associated with people of black excellence. I’m also, constantly driven by where I’m from and my life experiences – which is always the case with every black child who is poor, coming from the Township, but dreaming and working hard to break boundaries so I can change the environment I come from for the better.
Blacklight: Do you have any heroes that continuously inspire you and in what ways do they inspire you?
Kwandile Sikhosana: My only hero is Jesus Christ, he came from humble beginnings but through God he became a man that’s followed by many.
Blacklight: What role do books play in your life as a young black man?
Kwandile Sikhosana: Books are a gateway for every visionary – everything that I’m exposed to to today is because of the love of books that I had as a young man. If you want to pioneer something that’s foreign to your surroundings -like how I want to be a billionaire and the president of South Africa, with no close family member that has achieved the above mentioned – the best thing is to read on the people that have already achieved the above and see what I can learn from them and implement it in my own life.
Blacklight: Can you share some of the books that helped mould you into the man you are today?
Kwandile Sikhosana: The books that have made a major impact in my life are Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant, The Bible, The Constitution of the republic 108 and Woman art loose by TD Jakes.
Blacklight: What is the bigger vision you have for yourself and how do you hope it impacts your community?
Kwandile Sikhosana: The bigger plan is to be the President of the Republic of South Africa and create economic growth, improve foreign direct investments and empower the poor with resources and infrastructure to be able to change their lives and that of the country.
Blacklight:What words wisdom do you always share with other young people?
Kwandile Sikhosana: Education is the only vehicle that will aid generational curses of poverty, whether it is formal education or informal education. Young people should be inquisitive. They need to take the initiative to change their surroundings.
You can follow the Daveyton book club here: Daveyton Book Club