The third Lubuto library - the first rural library - is located in Zambia’s Southern Province in the community of Nabukuyu—23 km east of Monze. From the beginning, the community named the library "Mumuni," the Chitonga word that means the same as "lubuto": light, enlightenment and knowledge.
The Mumuni Library opened in November 2014, but it was eight years in the making. Advisory Board member Mark Chona worked hard with us during those eight years to bring his dream of a library in that community to fruition. Mr. Chona's Matantala Rural Integrated Development Enterprise (MRIDE) had coordinated the development and funding of three area Chieftaincies, planned according to the customary approaches of such traditional authorities, where the people guide their development plans.
This library was carefully constructed to be suited for a rural community in Southern Province. Mumuni Library's design represents local Tonga culture. Parting from Lubuto’s three-structure libraries in Lusaka, this library features a fourth building that serves as a "youth center," a dedicated space for teenagers and young adults.
From the moment the doors first opened, users flocked to the Mumuni Library, delighting in all it had to offer. Compared to the Lusaka libraries, we see a far greater number of very young mothers visiting the library with their young children. Therefore, the library not only offers early childhood learning opportunities, but also opportunities for mothers to learn as well. The community and their new public library are working together to create programs and approaches, especially to outreach, that best suit them.
23 km east of Monze
Nabukuyu, Southern Province
The Mumuni Library opening celebrations were a great success and included many honored guests. We were thrilled that so many people made the trek down to the Southern Province for the opening of this library that was made possible by the very generous financial support of Comic Relief. The celebrations took place over two days with 1000 children and community members on the first day and 2000 people participating on November 21st for the official opening.
The opening activities included storytelling, story dramatizations, traditional dance performances, and poetry readings and drumming by the men, women and children of Nabukuyu, all in Chitonga. Speakers included Lubuto President Jane Kinney Meyers, MRIDE Chairperson Mark Chona, British Council Country Director of Zambia Wayne Harper and Deputy Minister Hon. Patrick Ngoma (MESVTEE). Letters were also read on behalf of Christine Vilsack, USAID’s Senior Advisor for International Education, and Dr. Peter Lor, Professor of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. The Master of Ceremonies, author and former Livingstone DEBS Maxwell Bbalo, provided translations to and from Chitonga and English throughout.
Finally, with an eye to the future and the next Lubuto Library, to be hosted by the Mthunzi Centre in Lusaka West, the Mthunzi boys and staff traveled to Nabukuyu and performed at the Mumuni celebration. While the Mumuni opening reflected a deep involvement with Tonga culture it also acknowledges that in Zambia's Jubilee year stakeholders are committed to the spread of enlightenment, and connecting the past with the future, that Lubuto libraries will bring to all corners of the country.