JOHANNESBURG, 01 February 2023: Renault South Africa, in partnership with the Motus Imperial Trust, has donated a fully equipped mini library to the Ntethelelo Foundation, providing learners participating in its programmes with a safe and conducive place to study after school hours. Ntethelelo, which is based in Johannesburg, is a woman-run foundation that aims to end domestic violence, eliminate gender inequalities, and promote the wellbeing of women and girls.
“Ntethelelo’s values are closely aligned to our own,” said Sithabile Maphumulo, Renault SA’s Marketing Director, speaking at the handover of the library on Thursday, 26 January. “It’s an organisation based on the principles of self-love, self-respect and building communities, and we’re proud to have been supporting its work since 2019. One of the main objectives of our CSI programmes is to bring about social change through education and that’s exactly what’s being done here.”
Founded in 2017, the Foundation uses applied drama techniques and various art methodologies to elicit dialogue about violence against women and girls and to promote meaningful social change. These forms of engagement are rooted in the Theatre of the Oppressed framework famously developed by the Brazilian theatre practitioner, Augusto Boal, in the 1970s. Boal was an early advocate of interactive theatre practice and developed the Theatre of the Oppressed concept based on direct interaction between audiences and performers.
“The techniques we use are intended to break the cycle of gender inequality, oppression and violence,” says Thokozani Ndaba, Ntethelelo’s Founder and Executive Director. “They’re powerful tools that are specifically designed to dismantle toxic masculinity, which is particularly prevalent in impoverished communities.”
Renault partnered with Motus Imperial Trust to build and equip the library as the Trust has provided 64 library facilities since its inception in 2003 and was able to bring invaluable skills, knowledge and experience to the project. The new library, like many of Ntethelelo’s facilities, has been constructed using shipping containers, which offer a grassroots solution to long-standing infrastructure challenges. It has been designed to meet the needs of multiple age groups, including learners in the foundation phase (from Grade R to Grade 3) and learners in the intermediate phase (from Grade 4 to Grade 6).
It is stocked with 1 500 books, all of which have been specially selected to support these curriculum phases and have been covered in plastic film to protect them. They are alphabetically arranged and displayed on well-placed shelves. The facility is also equipped with two laptops and high-speed internet access, offering access to online resources as well.
The surroundings are secure and well-maintained too. On Mandela Day in 2019 and 2022, Renault partnered with Ntethelelo to organise a clean-up of the Foundation’s surroundings and the community beyond. The company also provided funding and equipment to help improve its facilities and to support day-to-day operations.
“It’s such a bright and welcoming space,” says Thokozani Ndaba, “and we’re delighted that the participants in our programmes have access to a secure and well-resourced learning facility like this. It’s an environment that supports study and it provides a place for them to work through their homework systematically and without disturbance.”
“We’re very proud to be involved in initiatives like these,” says Maphumulo. “Not only do they offer safe spaces and access to learning resources for girl children, they help them to build resilience, make positive choices, support one another and strengthen their communities. They’re right at the beginning of the virtuous cycle that education facilitates.”