Anglican minister Reverend Samuel Sifelani became one of eleven Zimbabweans was honored by the inaugural Zimbabwean Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle club.

He met the CLSC requirement of reading at least 12 books recommended by this oldest continuous US book club.

Other graduates in Zimbabwe include Rabison Shumba, a motivational speaker; author Virginia Phiri; journalist Masimba Biriwasha; Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga; Ettrage Tawatya, a security guard; Phillip Tawanda Dube, now studying at Bates College in the U.S.; and Mbizo Chirasha, a poet. 

“The core concept of the CLSC book club is that adults should never stop learning,” said Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy and a 2012 graduate. “Our education should not stop at the last year of schooling but we should seek to expand our intellectual world every day.” Hudson-Dean went on to note that the CLSC-Z book discussions also serve to build bridges of understanding between people by allowing them to share opinions and perspectives on the books in an uninhibited forum.

“Whenever we meet, it’s not like discussing the book and leaving it there, leaving the words on the page. It’s like trying to extract the meaning, to put it in our context,” said Rev Sifelani.

Launched in 1878 at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, the CLSC is considered to be the oldest continuous book club in the United States. It began with two chief aims: the promotion of habitual reading and study in nature, art, science and in secular and sacred literature; and the encouragement of lifelong individual study. Today, the CLSC represents the standard by which all other book clubs, literary circles and study groups are measured.