Hosea Tokwe, A Library Change Agent

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(Hosea Tokwe, noted Mover and Shaker 2015 by Library Journal.) 

Hosea Tokwe, Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) National Executive Council Treasurer was last week noted as a Mover and Shaker – Change Agent for 2015 under the Literacy Builder of the Library Journal. He is recognized for his efforts to establish a school library at Matenda School in 2007.

Building a school library at Matanda School was not an easy task at that time as the political tension in the area was high and was suspected to be a political agent. The library collection was start by book donation from former students in the diaspora. According to the Library Journal, “It was a tumultuous time in Zimbabwe, however, and the community in Matenda greeted him with suspicion. They feared he was not actually a librarian at Midlands State University Library but an opposition political agent sent to stir up trouble.”

Tokwe used his resources to deliver the book donation to the school and usually had to walk more than 20 Kilometres on foot from the tarred road.  The school library was opened in April 2008 with a collection bolstered by 18 boxes of books following support from local stakeholders from the community that included the school development committee and Matenda’s chief and headmen.

The Libray Journal reported that, “Since then, some 60 percent of boys now pass the annual school exams, and 40 percent of girls do. (Girls spend so much time at home fetching firewood and well water that they have limited study time, Tokwe says.) The Zimbabwean publisher Weaver Press continues to donate books to the school.”

In 2012, Tokwe won the International Library Information Group (ILIG)’s annual award for his commitment and contribution made in the establishment of the Matenda School Library in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe. According to the announcement, Tokwe “played a key role in developing the Matenda School Library in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe. He helped to coordinate the construction of the library and to organize and to catalog the collection of donated materials. He also ensured that the teachers in the school had the skills to run the library.” The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) reported that, “The judging panel found the story to be inspirational and that the efforts and work of Hosea was worthy of further recognition. Library Journal reported that, “He’s also been a driving force behind the revival of the largely defunct Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA), helping to organize ZimLA’s first national conference in April 2010.”

 In the same issue of Library Journal, ZimLA Secretary General, Harriet Ncube said, “Mr. Tokwe…has made immense contributions to the profession, especially in the area of school library services,” says Harriet Ncube, national secretary general of ZimLA. He has inspired all of us.”