Boksburg: Member of the Mayoral Committee in Ekurhuleni Councillor Dorah Mlambo says South Africans must learn and understand the pain, joy and aspirations of people from the continent as it will help to root out racism and other forms of intolerance.
“As literature explores the human condition, it imparts the values of tolerance, empathy and compassion,” Councillor Mlambo said on Thursday.
She said reading and literature have a crucial role to play in shaping a South African identity that is at peace with itself, the continent and the world.
“We must inculcate and promote the reading of African literature at schools and in communities as a way of exposing young people to the rich stories, traditions and thought of the African continent.”
Speaking during the celebrations of World Book Day in Boksburg, Mlambo said reading allows one to imagine a better world defined by human solidarity.
“If we expose our young people to it, they will be reminded of the humanity of all people irrespective of their ethnicity, origin, creed or gender.
“Our country, our continent and our world need to grow the seed of tolerance among all citizens of the globe,” she said.
She said books teach one not to see people as burdens but to recognise their dignity and respect their humanity.
National Library of SA CEO Prof Rocky Ralebipi-Simela encouraged learners and teachers to read so South Africa can compete in the global community.
“For us South Africans to compete successfully in the global community, we need to be literate and promote our own collective talent as a nation,” Ralebipi-Simala said.
She said a nation that reads is a successful nation.
“We need to read, we need to write our own stories in any of our languages. We need to share our hopes, expectations, challenges, knowledge, frustrations and prayers.
“I wish that people who are so angry and frustrated that they feel they need to kill and burn libraries, could resort to the power of the pen,” she said.
According to the African Economist, South Africa ranks third in literacy levels in Africa.
Ralebipi-Simela said South Africa should strive to be number one on the continent.
Maria Morgan of the Ekurhuleni School of the Deaf shared some of the challenges she experienced as a deaf learner in South Africa.
“The vocabulary of every deaf learner is very limited. Deaf learners understand science more than written words,” Morgan said.
She said deaf learners find it difficult to use public libraries because there are no librarians who can use sign language.
“As a deaf learner, I only learn English because I can’t speak my own home language. It is difficult to get a matric certificate as a deaf learner because it requires one to have two languages,” she said.
Morgan also said communicating with her parents was difficult as they also did not know how to use sign language.
SOURCE: South African Official News