Opening Of National Book Week 2015
Speech by Minister of the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
Executive Mayor of the George Municipality, Alderman Charles Standers
Senior Manager of Community Development and Library Services of the George Municipality and Programme Director, Mr Trevor Shanold Marillac
Municipal Manager of the George Municipality, Mr Trevor Botha
Library Manager of George Municipality, Rachel Williams
Ambassador for National Book Week, Amaza
Department of Correctional Services
Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s Library Service, Ms Tessa Caroline
Thembalethu High School Choir
Pacaltsdorp Primary School learners
Members of the media
I thank you for the opportunity to address you today in celebration of National Book Week 2015. Let me open this address with the words of the late great Maya Angelou, “any book that helps a child to from a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
It is in that vein that I highlight the importance of National Book Week, which is now in its sixth year since inception in 2010. National Book Week, recognised as one of the longest running and most successful campaigns in South Africa, is a week dedicated to celebrate the book and promote a love and culture of reading.
Through this campaign, we hope amongst many other objectives to:
- Promote reading as a critical part of South African development
- Celebrate books as instruments for education, culture, heritage and economic progress
- Increase indigenous language publishing and
- Showcase South African and African writers, publishers, booksellers and related businesses.
With these objectives in mind, it is then fitting that we are celebrating National Book Week in George, with Conville, Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp libraries close by. It is at these magical spaces where residents: children and adults alike have access to information by means of print material: books, magazines, pamphlets and newspapers to be kept up to date with current affairs which affect their daily livelihoods. Access to electronic sources such as internet facilities and computer services are also available at your libraries which serve as social hubs that provide a welcome, safe and inclusive environment to the different communities making use of them.
In celebration of National Book Week, it is important to mention that libraries promote reading and learning and research has shown that the use of public libraries can lead to improved educational outcomes and attainment levels. Making use of the services at our libraries also contributes to increased levels of literacy and information competence.
I am pleased to share with you that tomorrow, 8 September, marks International Literacy Day 2015. Whether it is reading or writing, literacy is an outlet to an untouchable world: the imagination. Not only is literacy a basic human right, it is a fundamental building block for learning as well as a personal empowerment tool. Literacy is the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential and the Western Cape Government wants all in the province to live lives they can value.
On that note, I close with encouraging you all to make use of the books and other reading material freely available to you. Let us rediscover the joys of reading and the power held in the pages of the many books we can engage with better together. Once we learn to read and discover a love for books, we will forever be free. Echoing Nelson Mandela, “be a lifelong student, read as many books as possible”.
I thank you.