John and Gail Nicholson received AKTV Woordveertjie trophy.
John and Gail Nicholson received AKTV Woordveertjie trophy.

Cape Flats man rewarded for backyard library project

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Sep 12, 2016

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Cape Town - A Cape Flats man who converted his garage into a library to encourage neighbourhood children to read has won a prestigious award for his project.

John Nicholson, 50, and his wife Gail captured the hearts of Daily Voice readers with their backyard library in Hillview near Lavender Hill, which started in 2004.

Now, John, an upholsterer and father of two, is the proud winner of the ATKV Woordveertjie award for promoting reading in Afrikaans and other languages.

On Friday, John and Gail were treated to a gala evening at the awards ceremony held at the D'aria in Durbanville, and also met esteemed authors and actors.

The Daily Voice featured Nicholson's story in March. Nicholson had over 5 000 books at his Hillview home.

He then received thousands of books from donors far and wide.

The original Daily Voice on Facebook had over 4 700 shares.

Nicholson said they were overwhelmed by the glitzy awards dinner and he thanked the Daily Voice for giving his good work exposure.

"The award itself is called a Veertjie, we received it for promoting reading not only in Afrikaans but English also," he says.

"This is an annual award which we were selected for after our story was told and we were nominated. We got to meet authors and actors and it made us feel very special. I made a speech and I said you [the Daily Voice] was an angel sent to me and my family.

"This angel came in the form of a book and camera and they told our story for the first time in more than 10 years and we are so grateful."

Gail says they never dreamed they'd be invited to such a prestigious awards ceremony.

"We have been doing this for the children since 2004 and it wasn't to get recognition but I never dreamed this day would come," she says.

Last month students from as far afield as Amsterdam helped to revamp the library with new shelving and tables.

Daily Voice

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