Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, at the official opening of the Mosweu Piet Melamu Community Library, Logaganeng, John Taolo Gaetsewe District

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Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors, Mayors and Councilors
Kgosi Jantjie
Government officials
Family members of the late Mosweu Piet Melamu
Community Members of Logaganeng and surrounding areas
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to join you this morning, during a year which the African National Congress has declared as the year of our former stalwart and first President of this democratic South Africa, namely Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. This year, we as South Africans will honour and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he was affectionately known.

The celebration of the life and times of this icon are set to stretch beyond the borders of this country and it presents all of us with an opportunity to not only celebrate but also pay tribute to the values and principles that this stalwart of our revolution stood for during difficult and challenging times during our struggle for freedom and liberation.

There could therefore be no better tribute to the former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s legacy, than to respond to a call for the people of South Africa to educate them. Madiba believed that education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.

Today as this ANC led government, we are here to officially open, an institution of learning and reading, which we believe is an ideal for which Utata Nelson Mandela lived for. The 2 libraries that we will be opening in this district over the next two days are in honour of the great man himself.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The dawn of democracy and freedom in 1994 was the first step of many in our journey to rebuild our nation, which was paralyzed, crippled and marginalized by the discriminatory principles of colonialism and Apartheid. As we continue our journey of rebuilding and reconstructing our society, we are extremely proud of the role played thus far by the libraries service sector in developing our communities.

Our presence here today and the naming of the library after Mosweu Piet Melamu, is no coincidence. The history recorded of this area, tells us that Mosweu Piet Melamu, who was born in November 1888, was the first person to stay here at Logaganeng village. During that time he was inaugurated at the headman of the village by Kgosi Jantjie under the Kgosana Sethlodi. During one fateful winter, children of this area who were attending school at Ellendale village were killed by the extreme cold weather. Already then, he realised the importance of getting an education and persuaded members of this village to build a school, which is now Bogare Primary School.

As an ANC led government we share the same vision that former headman Melamu had for this area. For this reason we have constructed an institution that will develop you through unlocking the power of information and opportunity.

Libraries are the core or the centre of communities where community members, parents and children gain access to government information, gain access to newspapers where jobs are advertised and where learners and students can gain access to information on the internet that can improve their studies.

Through our libraries programme, we also promote social cohesion and nation building because there is no restriction on who gains access to libraries. They open for the benefit of everybody, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

Ladies and gentlemen, as the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape, we have long taken a decision that all new libraries must be built in close proximity to schools. The simple reason being, that learners need to access information, especially our disadvantaged communities. The learners from Bogare Primary School and all other schools in this area will therefore draw benefit from having this library on their doorstep.

This information remains key to personal development and improvement of social, economic, technical and scientific skills that are needed in the labour market, especially in the mines in this District.

Ladies and Gentleman, for many communities in South Africa, it is only public libraries which provide free access to computers and the internet. The Library we are opening here today will open the doors to free internet connectivity and technological resources to and for the less or members of this community.

I wish to say to the learners that libraries store the energy that ignites the imagination.  They open windows to the world for us and inspire us to explore, achieve and contribute to the improvement of our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better. It is also important for you to know that reading and writing opens up new worlds, reveals new ideas and suggests new opportunities.  Reading books should not just be used as an avenue to pass the time but it must be an integral part of our struggle to be a free and prosperous nation.

A culture of reading will contribute towards a life-long desire to learn and develop oneself intellectually, emotionally, and culturally.  We therefore need vibrant community libraries, stocked with new, relevant books across all subjects, to assist people improve their skills and to prepare themselves better for their professions.

I therefore wish to urge the librarians to establish activities like book clubs and debate clubs which will instill the culture of reading in this community and encourage the community to take ownership of different activities in this library.

In order to promote and encourage a culture of reading and creativity, we have made an investment of R 3 million, to ensure that we build a society in which everyone is afforded the opportunity to personally empower themselves

The Mosweu Piet Melamu Library will become a beacon of hope to all who make use of it.  As mentioned earlier it not only houses books, but avails internet services, current affairs resources and other services required to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for youth development.

By building this library we are merely laying the foundation for a thriving reading culture. Buildings do not go to the people. People must come to the buildings.
I encourage the community to look after this library and to guard jealously against anything that might damage or vandalise it.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to quote the words of a wise man who we are honouring this year, our former President, the late Dr. Nelson Mandela who once stated that “It is through education that a daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become head of the mine, that a child of a farm worker can become President of a great nation”

In conclusion I want to encourage our parents and educators to play a meaningful role in terms of encouraging learners to utilize the libraries and make more concerted efforts to ensure that this facility is utilised optimally to the benefit of our communities.
Working together we can do more to inculcate a culture of reading and learning in our youth.

I thank you.

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