Day four of the National Book Week tour was a cross-generation marvel in the warm heart of Emnambithi/Ladysmith.
Scores of people, from crèche-age children to gogos, came out to greet the NBW bus when it pulled up at the Indoor Sports Stadium in Emnambithi Municipality. Mascot Funda Bala and company were treated to an uplifting performance by learners from the local primary and high schools, which focused on spreading an anti-xenophobia message. Crowd favourite Nikita Gupat, an Indian learner from Ladysmith Secondary School, recited a poem in isiZulu, showing off her multilingualism and impressing the gathered guests immensely.
Emnambithi’s chief librarian Sandhya Maharaj revealed that yesterday’s act was about fostering a sense of empowerment:
“The event is an effort to highlight the importance of literacy and reading to the entire community. We want to inculcate the culture of reading amongst our youth and adults. A large percentage of them don’t read as well,” she said, adding that ultimately it was about ensuring that people are “empowered and well equipped”.
The Mayor of Emnambithi Municipality, Vincent Madlala said the municipality’s involvement was motivated by a need to highlight the importance of education, with reading being key. Maharaj waxed lyrical about the community’s partnership with the South African Book Development Council. “What they have brought to this function is invaluable because when it comes to resources our smaller towns are disadvantaged,” she said.
The entire community’s engagement was a stirring sight; from learners young and old clamouring for Funda Bala’s attention to Nal’Bali’s exciting Story Bosso competition. CEO Hitman lived up to his name, and had his audience singing along during his poetry session, with many of them staying for a chat afterwards.
The gogos also got their fair share of fun while exercising their minds with the word game Wordathon. Needless to say, they were as sharp as ever because, as any grandchild will tell you, granny always knows best.