African Library Project


ALP Transforms Lives

Sidney Sheldon may not make the list of classic American authors, but his writing had an enormous impact on Mzwakithi (Mzwa) Shongwe, one of the speakers at ALP’s 2016 Harambee fund-raising gala.

Growing up in Siteki, a village of 6,000 in Swaziland, Mwza first learned that reading was “cool” at age 10 when the first library—with books donated by ALP volunteers-- was delivered to his village. Once the library was up and running, the principal gave all the students time to spend in the library, reading.

Mzwa began with books about India, China and sharks. Once he was enrolled in high school with a library of books also donated by ALP, Mzwa discovered Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon.

“I came from a village where everyone had blue collar jobs. I didn’t know about white collar jobs. Through this book, I discovered a new world. I realized that management is really cool.”

Fueled by the interest in management and economics that the book had sparked, Mzwa enrolled in Middlebury College in Vermont, where he majored in International Policy and Economics. After graduating in May, he began working as a management consultant for a major consulting firm in Washington, D.C. “I wanted to do strategy work. To see how a host of issues come together and have an impact on a business, and then provide some outside help.”

As Mzwa says, “Literature is a precious resource. When the seed is planted early, the love of reading can have a massive effect on readers’ lives.”

December 2016