Keynote Address by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the opening of the new Nkantolo Mobile Library in Nkantolo Village

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27 Oct 2014

Programme director

MEC Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture,

Ms Pemmy Majodina;

Mayors present;

All Councillors present;

Head of Department, Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Mr Mzolisi Matutu;

The Municipal Manager;

Distinguished Guests;

All officials present;

Ladies and gentlemen


It feels good to be back in the Eastern Cape province, the home of Isithwalandwe, Seaparankwe, former ANC president, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo.

The opening of this new library is an important contribution to the O R Tambo Legacy in this area. Oliver Reginald Tambo was an international icon who was widely recognised and respected for leading and mobilising the global anti-apartheid movement that ultimately brought about our freedom.

I was highly disappointed to learn about the vandalism and destruction of property that took place at the OR Tambo Legacy Project at Bizana. The burning of the two rondavels and the loss of priceless artefacts and documents in this fire, including the statue of Tambo at the Garden of Remembrance made South Africa poorer.

This huge loss while we are celebrating 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy is an embarrassment to our country as a whole.

Our people must learn to value our history and our heritage. We cannot treat the legacy of our leaders who sacrificed their lives, families and freedom and who fought under difficult circumstances to set our people free with disrespect.

We need to honour and protect Oliver Tambo’s and other leaders’ legacies because we and our children must not only learn from the past but preserve the tangible heritage for the future generations. Violence that results in destruction of property, especially libraries and now heritage sites is not acceptable. Freedom always comes with responsibility.

It is within your rights to protest but it should be done peacefully and responsibly, let us learn from O R Tambo who used constructive dialogue to unchain our beloved country from the shackles of apartheid.

The value of cultural heritage is that it shows us how communities lived and developed in the past and how their customs, practices, arts and culture were passed on from generation to generation. Cultural heritage brings forth tangible examples of our ancestors’ value systems, beliefs, traditions and customs and these are treasures that we are honoured to experience and enjoy and we have the responsibility to pass them on to our grandchildren.

The opening of this modular library marks a historical moment for the community of Nkantolo Village, and for the Eastern Cape Province. The library will open the doors of reading and writing and will assist to enhance leadership capabilities of the people of Nkantolo.

I am pleased to note that this library offers everything to the community that a city library has to offer; from a qualified librarian who will manage the library and who will be able to deliver quality services to the community, to toy library facilities that will assist with early childhood development.

The five computers will provide internet facilities which will connect the community to the global world of information. The study space will enable learners who do not have facilities at home the opportunity to study in silence and peace which is a requirement to excel in our self-development and education.

I am also pleased to be informed that we have here in our midst the 8 schools in the area that will benefit from the library service. In communities such as Nkantolo, where there are many schools in close proximity to each other, it makes sense to establish library services to supply in the needs of all people.

The Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Basic Education have come to the point where we realise that we have to collaborate to deliver on the pressing need for information for learners, especially in the rural communities. There is a need for cooperation between school libraries and community libraries in South Africa to supply in the demand for information and education.

Provinces will more and more sign agreements with the Department of Basic Education to establish new libraries in close proximity to schools. We will have to share our information resources to effectively provide the much needed library services to our communities.

The Department of Arts and Culture’s message ahead of Heritage Day on 24 September 2014 was that: South Africa is a country with a great story to tell; a story of struggle, victory and a commitment to work together to foster nation building and social cohesion. The Department encouraged South Africans to tell their stories in line with the theme of this year’s Heritage Month – Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy: Tell your story that moves South Africa Forward.

In September which has been acknowledged as Heritage Month, in celebration of Heritage Day, South Africans were encouraged to unite in their diversity and to celebrate the country’s rich heritage. South Africans are still encouraged to celebrate and embrace the country’s historical inheritance, languages, spirituality and sacred sites, diverse cultures, indigenous food and traditional art forms. Let me remind you once again that all South Africans must embrace their diversity and that we all have a role to play in creating a united South African nation with a common identity.

It is my wish that everybody in the community will use this facility, become information literate and read together as families. May the community develop a culture of reading and a life-long desire to learn and develop intellectually, emotionally, and culturally. Thereby we will acquire new skills that will assist us to find jobs that will enable us to support our families better. May the community of Nkantolo prosper!

I thank you for the privilege to celebrate the opening of the library of Nkantolo with you which also marks the closing of the O R Tambo month.

Let me end by the true words of Oliver Tambo when he said: “A nation that does not invest in its youth is not worth its future.”

Thank you.