Nonkululeko “Leko” Mdluli of Fundza & The African Library Project

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

My interview with Leko Mdluli of Fundza, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that promotes literacy and the love of reading in Swaziland’s schools. “The word Fundza is a SiSwati word meaning “to learn” or “to read” depending on the context. Fundza’s mission is to raise the literacy rate and promote life-long learning among Swazi children. Our vision is to build a reading nation. We aim at increasing literacy rates by making information and library services available to primary and high schools. Fundza trains teachers in library management and in methods to improve literacy. In addition, we provide and promote HIV/AIDS materials, run annual school debate competitions and train other NGOs on how to manage their Information Resource Centers.” (quoted from this source) She also has partnered with The African Library Project. Find them on Facebook

Naomi: How did you come to work for (or start) the African Library Project?
Leko: It was through referral by a Board member who happen to be a Principal of a school which had already benefited and had receive a Library frorm the African Library Project

Naomi: How can librarians help African Library Project?
Leko: Librarians are to encourage more people to do book drives which is a fulfilling service one can offer to the vulnerable people in our countries which lack libraries. Librarians can volunteer with their expertise to stay connected and coach librarians even through e-mail on how to manage a library. The local library can adopt a sister school or sister library which can be coached and bond with a library. It would be done for good as we all are creating a better society through reading. We are empowering a people to stand. We look forward to intellectual development, leadership skills, good governance for a better World.

Naomi: Can you speak a little about your experiences with libraries? Any favorite libraries or experiences with them?
Leko: It was so fascinating to get a hold on electronic books.

Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Leko: Electronic. For my schools the Harry Porter series and the scholarstics classes.

Naomi: Favorite adaptation (book to film or even film to book)?
Leko: Royal Duty by Paul Burial

Naomi: Are there any blogs or websites we should be following?
Leko: African Library Project

Nonkululeko Mdluli is the Director of Fundza, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that promotes literacy and the love of reading in Swaziland’s schools. Born in a rural area of Swaziland, she managed to get an education with the support of her older siblings. After high school, she took a part-time night job at the University of Swaziland as a junior library assistant and got hooked on libraries. She received her Bachelor’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Botswana and her Honours Degree in Library and Information Science at Loughborough University in the UK. She then returned to Swaziland to work on library development with domestic and international partners, including the African Library Project.


Previously published on 8/10/12 and 8/8/13

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.