Phyllis Ntantala Collaborative Library celebrates the culture of collaboration this Heritage Month

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If there is a perfect example of working together for the greater good, the Phyllis Ntantala Collaborative Library (PNCL) located on the University of Fort Hare’s (UFH) East London campus would be it.

Officially opened in 2018, the first-of-its-kind collaborative library is a culmination of a joint project between the UFH, University of South Africa (UNISA), Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The library aims to alleviate the shortage of study, research, and learning spaces for students from the three universities in the East London area.

To celebrate Heritage Month, staff at the PNCL hosted an event to celebrate the culture of collaboration. Working together, the entrance hall of the award-winning six-floor building situated on the corner of Church and Hill Street was transformed into a hive activity where an exhibition was held.

On show were books from the library’s African Literature Collection authored by African Literature giants such as Zakes Mda, Dr Sindiwe Magona, AC Jordaan and Gcina Mhlophe. Also on display were artworks from the WSU Fine Arts Depart and information posters about Heritage Day.

Ms Khunjulwa Sanqela, senior librarian at UFH said the event was to further illuminate the culture and the brand of the PNCL, a culture of unity.

“This library is an epitome of how three diverse institutions came together for the greater good of its most important stakeholders – our students. It is proof that the culture of collaboration and having the same mindset has great impact,” said Sanqela.

Mr Thobami Mnqinana the librarian for UNISA said the event was to remind and encourage students and staff to respect each other’s culture and embrace diversity. “We service students and staff from diverse backgrounds, and we want everyone who comes through our doors to feel respected and also find a sense of belonging,” he said.

WSU Librarian, Ms Phumeza Mpambani said the collaboration goes beyond sharing the walls and floors of the building. “It’s a culture of working together. We share resources, ideas and best practices and we do all this for what this library was intended for, advancing the students from these three universities,” said Mpambani.