Durban — In a touching tribute to their daughter, the Tembe family opened the Anele Tembe Library at Durban Girls’ College on Tuesday.
The library at the school was refurbished. Anele Tembe died after falling from the 10th floor of a Cape Town hotel in 2021. Anele was a Durban Girls’ College alumna who loved reading and acquiring new knowledge.
Her father, Moses Tembe, praised the school for helping develop Anele and for contributing to world-class leaders across various fields.
Tembe said Anele had spent five happy years here and “this phenomenal institution” played a critically important role in her development.
Tembe said family members were determined to honour her memory and preserve the mark that she left on them. He said they came together as a family and took the decision to embark on the project to create the library.
“Integrity. Courage. Respect. Empathy. These are the school values that Anele chose to live by. I know without doubt that Anele would be so proud of this achievement.
“Anele brought much light into our lives and to the lives of everyone who knew her. We believe this special legacy project will shine a light on the very essence of Anele’s spirited personality – one who lived, loved and shared her life with all of us so generously,” Tembe said.
He said that while learning and the way we access information have changed in 2024, the importance of libraries has not; and that investing in libraries was important and a worthwhile investment in education.
Tembe said the library aimed at creating a space for the spirit of youth.
On behalf of the Tembe family, he thanked the school for embracing the family during their time of deep loss and helping them through that darkness into the light and happiness that they are able to share.
Tembe then read a poem in honour of his daughter, titled A Child of Mine by Edgar Albert Guest.
Family spokesperson Manqoba Zungu said Anele spent most of her formative years at Durban Girls’ College.
“The Tembe family chose to honour her legacy by renovating the library and naming it after her as a way to reiterate the importance of education.
“Anele used to love reading, travelling and acquiring new knowledge. The library therefore is a way for others to achieve the same without necessarily having to spend the travel costs.”
Zungu took time to remember Anele and said that he continually misses her culinary skills, particularly baking.
“She used to make all the desserts for family events. Most importantly, we miss her bubbly character as she always brought energy to the room,” he said.
Anele was also a qualified chef and her love for the culinary arts began when she started reading cookbooks and exchanging recipes. Zungu said the library was designed by another DGC alumna – award-winning interior designer Andrea Kleinloog.
“Visioned as the library of the future, the Anele Tembe Library embodies 21st-century learning, where innovation seamlessly meets functionality.
“Despite its futuristic design, the library pays homage to the original character of the building, celebrating its rich history. With a project value of R4 million – generously contributed by the Tembe family through the Anele Tembe Foundation – this ambitious initiative aims to be more than a physical space.
“It aspires to be a platform for the education of young women beyond the classroom, transcending socio-economic boundaries and setting a benchmark for school library experiences nationwide.
“Through the Anele Tembe Library, Anele’s luminous presence will endure, resonating throughout Durban Girls’ College for generations to come,” Zungu said.
Zungu added that the Anele Tembe Foundation was launched in 2021 – the same year Anele had passed away – and it would support other initiatives focused on empowering girls and women.
The chair of the Board of Governors, Karen Jones, said that three years ago, the school’s governing body saw an opportunity to transform the school and create a home where every young girl could feel welcomed and loved as they walked through the passageway of their school.
She said: “It’s with a heart full of gratitude that we thank you, Mr Tembe, for fulfilling our dream and gracefully donating our new library in honour of your daughter.
“May the legacy of your daughter, her beauty and her love for life live on for the many generations of young women who will have the privilege of walking through the doors of the Anele Tembe Library,” she said.
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