A ‘really good' library makes an impact in Robertson

Robertson Winery is a co-operative cellar based in the vibrant town of Robertson. A mere 2-hour drive east of Cape Town, the Robertson Valley has become synonymous with good wines, beautiful roses and hearty hospitality.

Robertson Winery is a co-operative cellar supported by 35 member farms who supply grapes for their wide range of quality wines. While much work has been done to uplift the communities on the various farms, the cellar in the town is also a significant employer whose children attend the local town schools. Over the last few years, the Winery has implemented several once-off projects to improve the lives of the community but when the RW Brand Manager Mpho Maroga met up with John Ngonyma, the principal of Nqubela Primary School, he told her of his dream for a library and she saw the opportunity to make a big impact on the whole community.


Nqubela Primary School is situated in the heart of the small town, with almost 1000 learners. The school did not have a library, but had to make use of the town’s municipal library which was far from the school and so difficult to access, and not necessarily geared for school children.

With Robertson Winery’s support, Maroga then managed to co-opt several key organisations to realise the dream:

Breadline Africa, an NGO based in Cape Town focusses on initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa including 135 libraries. They gave support, expertise and a generous donation of 2000-plus exquisite books in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa to meet the needs of all age groups at the school. They also provided training for an existing teacher’s assistant at the school, who now runs the library.

The MAL Fountation, is a collaborative design hub specialising in ‘ideas4good’ for like-minded brands and businesses. They helped the Winery acquire the containers and then repurposed them as a library, and decorated the walls with inspiring interactive murals. The murals depict the elements of the community, from the mountains, to farm houses and the natural surroundings. Embedded in these murals are hidden key words such as ‘grape’, ‘school’, ‘church’ and ‘wine’, making them interactive tools for the learners to engage with and learn more.

Think WiFi added a whole new dimension to the library by giving access to new realms for minds to explore via free uncapped Wi-Fi, connecting communities and building smarter futures for all.

Each class now has a scheduled library period every week where they can use the WiFi for projects and take out books to read at home.

Robertson Winery matched the funding from the organisations to create a vibrant space in which children can grow and thrive. Their “Really Good Library” project is linked with their varietal range. These wine bottles now sport a colourful neck tag which can be used as a nifty bookmark, and tells the story of this project.

“This is an ongoing project for us,” explains Maroga. “While we opened the library in March, we are constantly in contact with the school to make sure the library continues to be used optimally. We recently installed comfortable but durable floor mats so that the learners can sit on the floor to read and enjoy the space better.”


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