Library encourages young people to read, write

Aspiring authors and poets received guidelines from the professionals on Saturday when the Centre for the Book held an information session at the Khayelitsha library.

The centre, an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa, is on a drive to impart their skills to youth across the country.

Its mission is to promote a culture of reading, writing and publishing in local languages and easy access to books for all.

At the library on Saturday May 27, aspiring authors were educated about the various ways of writing and the kind of books the centre helps with.

Nelisa Lunika, coordinator of Centre for the Book’s Community Publishing Programme, gave a presentation on their programmes; what the centre was looking for; how to collate proposals and successfully putting the ideas across at pitching sessions.

“This is not a workshop but a session where we share information and knowledge. The centre aims to develop authors but we also publish. We develop them, guide, give advice to them. We encourage them to check on our programmes that are helpful to them. We conduct awareness, encourage World Book Day celebrations and we have a children’s literacy programme,” she said.

Speaking to the authors, Ms Lunika urged them to read more. She said for them to be successful writers, they needed to be familiar with all types of literature.

“Writing is an art form. People write for different reasons. There are those who write for fun, some for money, some for fame. To some, writing is therapeutic, it heals. A writer must not be lazy to read,” she said.

The well-attended event saw the book centre sharing information about, among other things, creative writing with close to 40 upcoming authors learning from local authors including Gcotyelwa Mwahleni, Nomazwi Phakane and Madoda Gcwadi.

The library said the target audience was aged 10 to 45.

Addressing the session, the head of Khayelitsha libraries, Jaqui Kwezi encouraged those present to take the information and use it to their benefit.

“This is the start of good things and wisdom. We are grateful to have hosted this session. We encourage people to write,” she said.

Acting senior librarian, Vuyokazi Rani-Njambatwa also encouraged the authors to work hard. She was happy to have aspiring and established authors under one roof.

She said as the library they are always open to ideas that have the best interests of authors at heart.

Author Thenjiwe Njobe of Kraaifontein said she was grateful for the opportunity. She said the session was an eye-opener. She said the opportunity given to them would not be wasted.

Ms Njobe said they now know where to turn to for help with their writing.