Minister of Cultural Affairs opens Thembalethu Mini library for the blind during library week
Media Release: Minister of Cultural Affairs opens Thembalethu Mini library for the blind during library week.
Issued by George Municipality on 28 March 2023 for immediate release
Western Cape Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Honourable Anroux Marais, officially opened the Mini Library for the blind in Thembalethu last week during library week with a ribbon cutting.
The mini library for the blind that was officially opened at Thembalethu library is the third mini library for the blind in George. Two mini libraries for the blind are already operational at George Library and at Pacaltsdorp library.
The primary objective of this project is to provide access to reading materials through assistive devices and the provision of necessary technology. In pursuit of a knowledge society, programmes were rolled out that focused on the eradication of information poverty, whilst cultural diversity and active citizenship was encouraged and emphasized.
Marais said the department is committed to delivering inclusive services to all people across the province. She said in their aim for social cohesion and inclusion, we do not want anyone to be left behind due to circumstances out of their control.
“This mini library for the blind means access to more people that will have access to library resources and I hope this will bring joy and magic books bring. We must also encourage parents to read to children and young people reading to older people who struggle with their sight,” Marais said.
Bongile Matini, from the South African Library for the Blind, said the opening of the Mini library for the blind in Thembalethu is part of more than 250 workstations across the country. Matini said this is a momentous occasion because we celebrate Library Week with this opening. “We hope this new mini library opens doors for the visually impaired community but also other handicapped individuals. More workstations will be opened in partnership with the Western Cape government and we hope more and more people make use of the free service,” Matini said.
Members from Ilitha Centre for the Blind in George, Olympia Skills School and Association for Mouth and Foot painters in George, as well as a published author, Nkosinathi Menziwa, were part of the celebration. Menziwa compiled a book of the stories of members from Ilitha called Imfama (meaning: the blind). Menziwa, said the stories are of the mothers and fathers that are blind. He said he was humbled that they gave their time and trust to him and that he could turn their stories into a product that they can be proud of. He said the stories are written in isiXhosa and will be available in English by next month.
Members from Ilitha serenaded the attendees with beautiful singing, while Patrick Botto entertained with his mouth paintings.
Rachel Williams, Manager: George libraries, said visually impaired people have the same information needs as sighted people. “Just as sighted people might read a newspaper, listen to a CD or download electronic information from the Internet; visually impaired people also want access to relevant information in their chosen accessible format.”
She said, “Developing an efficient library service for print-disabled people is extremely important, because there are significantly fewer books available commercially in accessible formats compared to what is published in print for the general public. Libraries have a moral obligation to make information available to all categories of users regardless of their gender, age, race, class or disability,” Williams said.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Hon Anroux Marais, officially cutting the ribbon at the Thembalethu Mini Library for the Blind. In front from left are Nkosinathi Menziwa, local author, Nosipho Sidlayiya, Rachel Williams, Manager: George Libraries, Cllr Thandiswa Qatana, Minister Anroux Marais, Annette Kortman, librarian at Thembalethu Library and Bongile Matini from SA Library for the Blind. At the back are Bonginkosi Ngcetie, Mzwandile Dibela, Malibongwe Luyenge, Senior librarian at George Library and Amgelica Zass from SA Library for the Blind.
Minister Anroux Marais and Nkosinathi Menziwa, a local author, with two of his published books share a light moment. Menziwa compiled a book of the stories of members from Ilitha Centre for the Blind, called Imfama (meaning: the blind).
Mzwandile Dibela (middle) from Ilitha Centre for the Blind, demonstrated how he works a Victor reader that works with CDs and other devices where books get downloaded on. From left are Amgelica Zass from SA Library for the Blind, Dibela, Bongile Matini from SA Library for the Blind, Minister Anroux Marais and Rachel Williams, Manager: George Libraries.