Honour our beloved Madiba by improving the lives of our young children through education

Minister of Education Donald Grant

Western Cape Government

Background:

In celebration of Mandela Day, Minister Grant visited the “Mandela Day” container library at the V&A Waterfront. The Minister read to learners from Alpine Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain.

The initiative is a joint venture by the Shine Reading Centre, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

As part of the 2013 Mandela Month celebrations, the Mandela Day Container library has been placed at the Waterfront to create awareness around reading and the benefits of container libraries for learners.

The container library was placed at the Waterfront on the 1st of July, with a dedicated staff member who has been reading to children who enter the library. In August, Alpine Ps will be the recipients of the container library.

Speech by Minister Donald Grant:

I am delighted to share this very special day with all of you.

There is no better way to honour our beloved Madiba than by improving the lives of our young children through education.

You see – Nelson Mandela is a great believer in education and life-long learning. He used every opportunity he could to learn, or to teach others.

He excelled at school finishing his Junior Certification in two years, instead of the three that it took his fellow learners. From school he went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts studies, then went on to study law. His university life was then interrupted by his involvement in the ANC. He was then sent to Robben Island prison. But his studies did not stop there. He continued his legal education while he was in prison too and he often gave legal advice to both prisoners and prison staff.

His love and belief in education was appreciated by all, and because of it, Robben Island became known as the ‘Nelson Mandela University’.

Despite its being hard and difficult life in prison, Mandela somehow managed to turn it into a place of learning.

The importance he attached to education was summed up in his famous quote: Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world”.

I certainly couldn’t agree more.

At the forefront of education is the ability to read and write.

That is why we attach such importance to the development of our young learners’ literacy skills through reading books from, for instance, a library such as the one we are officially opening today.

Literacy is one of the essential skills our children need in terms of their education and is the foundation upon which all further learning is built.

Children who cannot read and write will be presented with challenges throughout their lives. We are seeing this all too often in our schools. Many of our learners are not reading and writing at the required levels. This is presenting problems for their future educational growth and development.

While the WCED is  concentrating its  efforts on improving the reading and writing skills of our learners through various interventions and ensuring text-rich classrooms, we appreciate the efforts of organisations such as Shine Reading Centre, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory which  are promoting reading and writing and are assisting us with building text-rich libraries.

I sincerely hope that the learners of Alpine PS take advantage of their new library, together with the reading material we have supplied to this school, and use this opportunity to become avid and committed readers.

May this library become the busiest hub of this school community, other than that of the classroom!

Thank you.