By Andrew Nsoseka
The President of the Catholic University Institute of Buea, CUIB, Rev. Fr. George Nkeze, has announced that his institute will be setting up a state-of-the-art library with over 18,000 books, donated to the institute by Books For Africa, in a project whose transportation was sponsored by MoneyGram.
CUIB, alongside a number of other selected schools in the Southwest, welcomed the donated books at the University Institute in Buea in a ceremony that was chaired by CUIB’s President alongside Southwest’s Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, Dr. Hannah Etonde Mbua.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fr. Nkeze told students and teachers present that reading has become a crisis in Africa, and that there is urgent need to inculcate in the young people and students of today, the culture of reading, because, it is the best pathway to comprehensive learning.
Remarking that there is need to change attitudes, Fr. Nkeze bemoaned the popular saying that: “If you want to hide something from Africans, write it in books”. He said though Africans have a lacklustre attitude towards reading, things are changing, and some schools like CUIB and others are leading the change. He went on to say that a consignment of part of the books was equally given to CUIB’s campus in Douala.
The Academician harped on the need for young people and students to read books so as to widen their scope in various spheres of knowledge. He promised that with the thousands of books acquired, CUIB will be putting up a state of the art modern library, as its main library in one of its campuses in Buea has become inaccessible due to the Anglophone Crisis and its effects.
Narrating how the project and books came about, Fr. Nkeze said it was conceived in 2014, 2015, “when a couple from the University of St Thomas, Prof. Abraham and his wife came to Cameroon, visited and taught in CUIB. One of the challenges they noticed was that it takes a lot of time for students to read books and give feedback. When they asked me, I said we don’t have a culture of reading, and that there is a common derogatory statement about Africa, that “if you want to hide something, put it in a book.
“Since then, we decided to start this project, they went and started collecting books, but we did not have a sponsor. They wrote to MoneyGram Foundation and MoneyGram Foundation said it was a wonderful project, they sponsored the transportation of the 18,000 books and we are thankful to them and Books For Africa, who collected the books.
“I want to change this narrative in Africa that if you want to hide something from African’s you put it in a book. Our kids will read, and not only learn to read, but read to learn.”