Makgahlela promotes the culture of reading in rural communities

Meet Mr Lefose Makgahlela a proud bibliophile, the South African Librarian of the Year and Information Studies lecturer at the University of Limpopo (UL). He shares his life journey, academic work, winning the librarian of the year accolade and challenges along the way.

Please tell us who is Lefose Makgahlela?

I am the third child of the late Mr Mosibo Makgahlela and Mrs Esther Makgahlela born and bred in Ga-Mothapo, Limpopo. I grew up in a big family with four siblings and lots of extended family members. We had goats, chickens and cattle in the house and lots of land for mealies farming. I am married to Louisa and blessed with two children (Katlego and Jucie).

Tell us about your educational journey?

My schooling journey started at Tjatjaneng Primary and I matriculated at Masobe High. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in information Studies and B.Inf Honours Degree from UL. I obtained my Masters in Information Technology from University of Pretoria and Masters in Information and Knowledge Management from Stellenbosch University. I am currently studying towards my PhD in Information Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

What motivated you to be a Lecturer?

I am passionate about knowledge sharing and that is one of the key responsibility of a Lecturer. I wanted to help students to build their career and become better people in life. I am proud to have produced leaders who will take reading culture to the greater heights.

What challenges did you experience in life?

I couldn’t register for the qualification I wanted at the university because there was no space. I grew up in a big family where I could not afford to fail because I had my siblings who were behind me and needed to be taken care of. There is a lack of reading culture among students at the University. Students read for academic purposes only and don’t read to improve their knowledge. It becomes difficult as a lecturer to encourage students who are not reading to participate in class.

You are an award winning Librarian, tell us how you became a Librarian and define a Librarian?

I became a Liberian by accident. My dream was to enrol for Bachelor of science in Agriculture. I fell in love with the profession during the course of my studies because information is a necessity in many areas of our lives. a Librarian is the person responsible for the management of a library services by managing and organizing all library materials and the vast amount of information available for the benefits of the users.

You are Librarian of the Year, tell us about the award.

I was nominated for the national award after winning the Liasa librarian of the year in Limpopo. The national competition was for all provincial winners. I was crowned the South African Librarian of the year in Durban and I am proud to have represented Limpopo.

Do you think young people have access to libraries?

There is a lack of libraries in South African. Most of the rural areas do not have public libraries and where there are libraries, there is a lack of reading materials. The government need to build more libraries and Private sectors need to help in order to achieve this goal.

As a bibliophile, how do you promote reading culture?

I donate books to young people who do not have access to libraries. I also donate books to rural libraries which the lack of resources in the province that I want to use to promote the culture of reading. There is also a lot of young people who are not reading because there are no reading materials. I will be going around the communities to donate books so people can read.

You are involved in farming, what do you produce?

I  have a livestock farming and I produce vegetables like cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, and butternuts. My childhood revolved around agriculture because my parents had livestock and few pieces of land where they would plant mealies.

You are a Leader in your own right, what keeps you motivated?

I am from humble beginnings therefore my family background motivated me a lot. I want to work hard for my kids to have a better life and bright future. I take my responsibilities serious as a leader in academia responsible for the future of young people.

What advice do you have for young people aspiring to be in Academia?

You need to read and read and read. The field of academia is for people who like reading.


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