A couple of weeks back we helped the Ulwazi Programme put on a display for a Library Week event held for eThekwini Municipality schoolchildren. As part of the display, we had a big-screen TV playing oral history interviews we had done over the past few years, as well as a few computers where the schoolchildren could access the Ulwazi Community Memory Programme. Along one side of the hall, we created an ‘Internet cafe’ with computers the children could use to surf the Internet, or whatever else they wanted to do. Not surprising, all they wanted to do was play games.
We’ve been pushing the idea of using games as a way to increase digital literacy for a while now, and even developed some Zulu-language online games last year. It seems like the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation has now also cottoned on to the idea. The department intends rolling out the Gaming and Wii @ Your Library project. A pilot will be run in 20 libraries, targeting those in previously disadvantaged communities.