Inputs By The Mec Siphosezwe At The Tinganekwane
Festival Held On 09th September 2004 At The Nelspruit Civic
09 September 2004
Head of Department – Dr M T Mashinini
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are on course to educate the nation.
On the 05th September 2004, I attended an Adult Learner
Week and International Literacy Day celebrations in Secunda.
Here am I today, attending the Tinganekwane Festival.
Programme Director, todays’ occasion and the
International Literacy Day I attended on Sunday, have one
thing in common. They both encourage reading and writing.
This is exactly what tonight’s festival is all about.
This, ladies and gentlemen, should not be seen as a mere
coincidence – but as a conscious and an ongoing commitment
to increasingly open the doors of learning to all and to
uncompromisingly accelerate our bitter fight against
It is encouraging to note that this festival coincides
with the Readathon Week which is a week that seeks to
encourage everybody to read more.
This is indeed an important occasion. It is an occasion
that seeks to re-instil the love for the reading and writing
of indigenous material.
This will ensure that our indigenous languages are not
lost. Through an increased writing of our indigenous poems,
novels, drama and short stories we can produce a reading
nation which will eventually be a winning nation.
A nation that does preserve and protect its cultural
heritage – which is deeply rooted in its languages is a
nation destined to lose its identity.
Programme Director, I want to add my voice by encouraging
our learners, educators and officials to make reading and
writing their habit.
Let us together join hands in engaging the whole nation
in an effort to build a sustainable culture of reading and
writing that will affirm South African languages, history,
values and development.
It is through initiatives like these that we can
successfully promote South African writing in all official
Research has shown that a great number of South Africans
do not read. The reasons why South African don’t read
include the following:
- A high illiteracy rate
- The exorbitant cost of books
- The lack of books at home
- Limited reading resources in classrooms, media
centres and libraries
To address these concerns we need to:
- Promote reading through encouraging people to start
book clubs, libraries, literacy improvement programmes
and adult literacy programmes
- Promote South African writers
- Promote careers relating to reading such as editing,
teaching, journalism and librarianship
- Encourage volunteers to read to the visually
As a result of these efforts, we shall be able to
successfully create an awareness of the value and benefits
of reading and writing.
The inability to read and write deprives a majority of
our people of an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of our
Today’s festival only helps to recommit and rededicate
government to eradicating illiteracy in a more vigorous
manner. A battle won against illiteracy is a battle won
against unemployment and poverty.
I want to congratulate all the upcoming and aspiring
writers who have made an effort in producing some written
work despite the inavailability of the necessary resources.
In closing, let us all go out and encourage everybody to
Read, Read, Read and Write, Write, Write.
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