In Khartoum, Sudan thousands of protestors are currently collected outside Sudan’s army headquarters in Khartoum calling for Omar al-Bashir to step down as president. Librarian Abdirahman Moalim went along to join in the sit-in but pretty soon he saw he could do more.
“I saw most of the protesters were young. At the sit-in, they only had their phones and were reading from it. I then thought what if I bring them books so that they can read and protest at the same time,” Moalim, popularly known as Kabila, told Al Jazeera news.
Kabila works at the modern Kabo library in Khartoum and soon realised which books the protestors wanted to read. In the West we have a voracious appetite for fiction, but these protestors want nonfiction books about politics and power.
Kabila has been a librarian for 14 years and is pleasantly surprised at the speed of change he is witnessing in his country. Books about revolutions, are hard to find in the country as leaders worked to keep people in the dark about the power of protest. Now he has set up an open-air library, allowing protester to read while standing at the protest.
One of the protestors, Arif Abdala stumbled across the library while protesting and praised how many good books were available, particularly books that have not previously been available in the country. When reporters spoke to him he had been there three hours and was reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.
Some protestors who came along had seen the library on social media after classmates had shared some of the books. They saw it as an amazing opportunity to read books they had not previously had any access to. Other protestors had even been buying books to take home, given how difficult many of these books were to find before.
Every day Kabila changes the books on display to keep protestors coming back and he’s even had to enlist friends to volunteer for him as the demand has been so high. One of his friends finishes work at 3pm and then works with Kabila at midnight, so impressed he is at Kabila’s stance to raise awareness and knowledge in the country. He says there is no better way to see the youth of the country informed about the options available to them, and how strong people power can be!