Minister Mbombo's Address at the Opening of the kwaNonqaba Library
27 June 2014
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
A special welcome to the National Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa,
The Mayor of Mossel Bay Municipality, Alderlady Ferreira,
The CEO of the National Library of South Africa, Prof. Rocky Ralebipi-Simela
The Head of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) Brent Walters and his dedicated team of officials.
It gives me great pleasure to be here this morning.
KwaNonqaba is a place of great history. This library has come a long way. It opened its doors in September 1993, with only two staff members and 200 books. Within a few weeks, between 200 and 400 children were visiting the library every afternoon. This shows the importance of reading and how people yearn for knowledge.
Today we are officially opening the Department of Cultural and Affairs and Sport’s own pride and joy, the new kwaNonqaba Library. It was through the Department’s efforts and the cooperation of the Mossel Bay Municipality that we were able to secure the conditional grant from the National Department of Arts and Culture that made the construction of this R8.9m state-of-the-art facility possible. It is through the work of every DCAS official who played a role in the conceptualisation and building of this library that we can be here today.
Reading broadens the mind and expands one’s horizons. Nothing warms my heart and drives me more strongly than seeing the good work of our government change the lives of ordinary South Africans. That is why the Western Cape Government prioritises the provisions of quality institutions like this one. In areas where we have not been able to build brick and mortar structures, we have introduced mobile libraries. The work of DCAS even extends to facilitating the establishment of book clubs from primary school level so that young people learn the value of reading.
This library will be used by learners from the seven schools in the area, university students, adults for research and members of the community.
The Western Cape Library Service has provided five computer stations with free internet access for the public. In addition to this, the Department of the Premier, through its Cape Access project, has provided a connecting area with 11 computer stations, also with free internet access.
With free internet access, members of the community will be able to walk into this library and access the world at their fingertips and at no cost. Learners, students and adults will be able to undertake job searches online. They can do research, read online books and little by little, begin to expand their horizons.
With over 21 000 books and free internet access, this facility will go a long way in realising the Western Cape Government’s goal of fully implementing the National Development Plan and creating a reading and informed society.
We extend our gratitude to Minister Mthethwa and his department for making available the funds for us to change lives in kwaNonqaba.
We congratulate the Mossel Bay Municipality for the role it plays in changing the lives of the people of kwaNonqaba.
I challenge you, the people of Mossel Bay, to make use of this library, to look after it and to use it as way of gaining knowledge and conquering the world. Look after it, preserve it, take pride in this wonderful asset that will be used by generations to come.
I thank you.