Books a crucial part of SA heritage

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pretoria - Books are an important part of South African heritage with the Department of Arts and Culture set on investing R3 billion in library infrastructure, says Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

The Deputy Minister was speaking during the National Book Week Road-show at Ganyesa Village, in the North West.

Tuesday was the second day of the weeklong commemoration of Book Week, which was established as an annual reading promotion event in 2010.

“The nation will be celebrating the Book Week until Sunday. This is a major landmark in our strategy to promote a culture of reading and writing and cultivate a sustainable book industry that supports equitable development of all South African languages,” she said.

This year’s Book Week theme is: “Going Places”.

Additionally this month South Africans will celebrate Heritage Day [24 September]. The heritage theme, “Celebrating 20 years of Democracy: Tell your story that moves South Africa forward”, resonates well with Book Week.

“Books are an important part of our heritage. It is against this backdrop that for the next three years, we will invest R3 billion on the library infrastructure.

“By building library infrastructure we are merely laying the foundation for a thriving reading culture. Buildings do not go to the people. People must come to the buildings. This is where initiatives like National Book Week are most crucially needed,” the Deputy Minister said.

The Book Week campaign has established itself as the premier platform through which the government, the book sector, the media and the civil society establish dynamic partnerships for the promotion of a culture of reading and writing.

This year it was decided that for the first time in the history of National Book Week not to have a specific host province for the campaign but to embark on a road show across the country which includes rural areas.

The road show entails a travelling bus which transports ambassadors, motivational speakers, authors, storytellers and a toy library to provinces across the country with North West being one of them. 

“We are also working with provinces that are not part of the current route, to ensure that there are satellite events in celebration of this special week,” she said.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said the department is committed to the preservation, development and promotion of South African literature.

The Deputy Minister also donated books to the community of Ganyesa. The books included titles like Bogosi Kupe by Rre Monyaise, Mathloko, Mathloko by R.M. Malope and Senkatana Mona Pela tsela by S.M. Mofokeng.

The department will donate a total 9 000 books out of this initiative as it visits different communities across the country. -