Burning libraries only sets us back

2009-10-09 13:59

SOUTH Africa’s constitution is hailed as the most progressive in the world and we are the envy of the many countries in the world, especially in Africa.

As a democratic state, we have rights and one of them is the right to gather and protest if we feel that our needs are not being met by those elected into higher power.

But what I find ­disturbing of late is the burning of ­community libraries during protests against the lack of service delivery in our municipalities.

A community library is the heart of the community. The information stored there can help residents to develop themselves, which in the process contributes to an informed and educated nation.

This new trend of burning libraries as a way of drawing the attention of the government to our plight can only be described as utter stupidity.

I find it unbelievable that in the information age, we still have people who think libraries are soft targets that need to be burnt to drive a ­message home.

Those who burn libraries are fools who don’t realise they are harming the country’s future.

In as much as their concerns are genuine and in need of immediate attention, the ­protesters will never get the support they need if they continue destroying the very structures that are central to community development.

According to statistics more than 1?700 schools in South Africa do not have school libraries and more than 40% of South Africans can’t read or write.

With such shocking revelations one wonders what is ­going to happen to the thousands of people who are beneficiaries of the libraries which have been destroyed.

It is high time that those in power send out a message that this nonsense must stop and condemn it in the strongest possible words.

South Africa cannot afford to see the future that is invested in these centres of information going to waste.

Let these fools stop burning the libraries now!

Monde Madiba


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