Celebrating its seventh year since inception, National Book Week received unprecedented support from the Members of the Executive Council (MECs) and Mayors in South Africa’s nine provinces that hosted National Book Week activities. The South African Book Development Council would like to thank the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Mrs Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi for encouraging participation in this campaign.
Nonhlanhla Mazibuko the MEC for Gauteng did the keynote address at the Media Launch hosted at the Apartheid Museum.
MEC Anroux Marais of Culture Affairs and Sport, Western Cape and Cllr. Marius Koen, Mayor of Saldanha Bay Municipality pushed the importance of the book and the power it holds in propelling readers to higher levels of success. In Uitenhage, which lies at the heart of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Cllr Siyasanga Sijadu, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture said: “One problem persists especially in our township schools and it is that reading has been reduced to a chore. Reading and writing will not only ensure that you will be able to articulate yourself better, it also provides you with the acumen to compete better in the marketplace.”
While the campaign emphasized that books do indeed play a very crucial role in a child’s development; in Glenmore, Mpumalanga it was highlighted that not only should the children and young people be encouraged to read, but they should be encouraged to read books written in their home languages.
Mpumalanga MEC for Culture, Sport and Recreation, Ms. Norah Mahlangu reiterated the importance of preserving our languages. She said that there should be a strong emphasis in encouraging people to take pride in their home languages.
As a flagship campaign of the South African Book Development Council, National Book Week also gives support to the Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme (ILPP) by pushing the reading, selling and sharing of local books, particularly those written in indigenous languages.
Northern Cape MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms. Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said, “We take immense pride that the Northern Cape has now become part of National Book Week for the very first time and we have created several programs that will home in on literacy and reading, such as the programme for budding writers.”
She went on to urge the audience to go out there and #BUY_A_BOOK so that books can be made available to people who are less fortunate. “Books must become priority gifts; instead of chocolates,” she concluded.
Boasting one of the most diverse National Book Week activities, the Khuma, North West program, led by the North West MEC for Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs, Ms. O.R. Mochware featured activities for the visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, disabled persons, the elderly, able-bodied persons as well as book-related activities for Early Childhood Development (ECD) learners. Executive Mayor for the City of Matlosana Cllr. Maetu Kgaile welcomed everyone to the Khuma Township in the Kenneth Kaunda District.
The fifth day of National Book Week proved to be the busiest by far, with National Book Week activities making waves in Meyerton, Gauteng; Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape and Mbazwana, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Meyerton community in the Midvaal area celebrated their National Book Week with an action-packed programme that saw Executive Mayor Mr Bongani Baloyi even dancing hoola hoops as he interacted with the Early Childhood Development age group.
Speaking to primary school and high school learners, Mr. Baloyi said, “A reading nation is a winning nation. When we read we become better people in life. We need books and education to move ourselves from informal settlements to better conditions.”
Over in the “windy city” things took a different turn as our favourite Mascot, Funda Bala led Day 5 with a peaceful literacy march from the Lilian Diedricks building to the City Hall for the special awards ceremony of our young NBW Heroes. These inspirational young learners had informative discussions around prescribed books and were able to articulate the importance of books and share the joys of reading. In her opening address Councilor Sijadu said, “Books must be celebrated every day, in every home.”
In KwaZulu-Natal, the National Book Week tour was a cross-generation marvel in the warm heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Hundreds of people made up of everyone from ECD learners, primary school, teenagers to grandparents came out to participate in the National Book Week celebrations at Mbazwana Depot and Public Library.
Mrs Sithole Moloi, Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) MEC of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation and Ward Councillor Magagula presided over the official proceedings and ensured the spelling bee champions were rewarded for their great efforts! It was a truly magical day filled with laughter, learning and lots of fun. In his capacity as Executive Mayor of the Saldanha Bay Municipality in the Western Cape, Councillor Marius Koen highlighted how wonderful it was to host National Book Week in Vredenburg for the very first time.
Giving a keynote address, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Honourable Ms. Anroux Marais reiterated how important it is for children to read and concluded by saying that it is important for South Africans to encourage a culture of reading; not only during National Book Week, but always.
A reading nation is a leading nation!