Leah Molon from Rietondale Primary, winner of the Library Week poster design competition. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

In line with the idiom Le ojwa le sale metsi (you teach children something while they are still young), the City of Tshwane has embarked on a drive to encourage pupils to read.

Grade 6 pupils from various schools were urged to love reading during an event to commemorate South African Library Week at Laerskool Voorpos in Waverley.

Chairperson of the council’s oversight committee for community and social development, Thabisile Vilakazi, said they had targeted Grade 6 pupils as they wanted to teach them about the importance of reading while they were young.

“Our children need to know the importance of reading while still young so books will befriend them as they grow,” she said.

This year’s theme is “Libraries, the Heart of the Community”, and Vilakazi said they wanted to encourage a sense of ownership within each community and make libraries an indispensable part of everyday lives. Part of the intention was to denounce the tendency of destroying libraries.

“Communities need to understand that by burning libraries, they don’t only burn the facilities but destroy the future of their children and country.

"People fail to understand that children are the future. They are the ones mostly using libraries for research, some which will benefit the society at some point,” she said.

On the day some pupils participated in activities such as singing and poetry, while others simply shared their knowledge about the day.

Among those participating was Tsholofelo Merementsi from Greenwood College.

She said: “Unlike those born in the 1950s, we are very fortunate as we have a place called a library in our communities.

“This is a place where we can get information about our ancestors, traditions and anything else we want. Libraries are important as they give us information and we can do research."

Pretoria News