News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
28 Mar 2018
6:20 am

Tshwane councillor encourages pupils to read, use libraries

Virginia Keppler

It is South African Library Week, and this year’s theme is 'Libraries: heart of the community'.

Laerskool Voorpos public speaking champion, Amelie Meyer (10) speaks to The Citizen at the school library in Tshwane, 27 March 2017. Amelie Meyer won a medal for the child who read the most books in her school. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

“People who are burning and destroying library facilities must know that they are destroying the lives of their own children,” Ntstiki Mokhoto, chairperson of the oversight committee for community and social development in Tshwane, said yesterday.

She addressed pupils from various schools at Laerskool Voorpos in Waverley, Pretoria, to commemorate South African Library Week. This year’s theme is “Libraries: heart of the community”.

Mokhoto said angry protesters who go all out to destroy libraries should know they are also destroying their own lives.

“The child is there to support the parents as they grow older. The most important message is that we want our children to be trained to be closer to libraries. They must be friends with reading and use libraries to do their research, read, study and use the internet,” Mokhoto said.

She added that the city is addressing the issue of libraries preventing children from joining or taking out books because their parents still owe the library a book they might have taken out many years ago.

“The child must always come first,” she said.

Public librarian Ofentse Maaroganye told pupils that all libraries offer access to the internet where they can download school work and read eBooks.

Laerskool Voorpos’s public speaking champion Amélie Meyer, 10, said reading is very important to help develop the brain to be well informed.

“Knowledge is power,” she said. “To win the medal for the child who read the most in my school, I had to read plenty of books in a single year and then had to be able to tell the story basically page by page.”

This Grade 5 pupil, who, in spite of her chemo treatment, is a 93% average student, said it is because she listens carefully in class when her teachers speak and she reads lots of books.

Amélie’s immune system goes into overdrive and attacks her kidneys. She has suffered 20% damage to her kidney filters “but it won’t get me down”, she said optimistically. “The first treatment was bad, but the second was okay.”

School principal Marius Swart said they take pride in their school library and encourage all the pupils to read as much as possible.

“Last month we took part in the World Reading Day and had all our 700 kids seated in the school hall reading a book,” Swart said.

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