LAUNCH OF SWELLENDAM’S ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU LIBRARY May 27th 2022
Official MEDIA STATEMENT and PHOTOS
Following much anticipation Swellendam Municipality proudly announces the opening of its new library in Station Street in the main town of Swellendam. The concept of the new library has been in the project pipeline as of 2019 with construction of the facility made possible with funding received from Western Cape Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport over the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years. Further enabling the municipality to offer improved services to municipal residents.
The municipality recently decided to honour the memory and recent passing of one of South Africa’s well-known human and civil rights activists, Nobel laureates, as well as an honorary Swellendammer; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with the naming of the new library. Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s honorary residence was conferred on him on 23 October 2013, in Swellendam, by the previous Executive Mayor, Nicholas Myburgh.
Current Executive Mayor Councillor Francois du Rand stated ‘it is with great pleasure and a humbling experience to be able to officially open and name this new library. Archbishop Tutu was an extraordinary and distinguished South African. We are proud to honour this great man with a small gesture by naming the new library after an icon of hope.’
The Archbishop dedicated his life to advocating human and civil rights as well as diversity and inclusion of all, principles the Swellendam Municipality strongly align with. Western Cape Government Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais who formally participated in the library’s Sod Turning in 2020, and Executive Mayor, Councillor Francois du Rand ceremoniously cut the ribbon to formally open the new library. A plaque commemorating the opening of the library has been mounted inside the building to remind residents and visitors of this auspicious occasion.
Furthermore, Bishop Margaret Brenda Vertue, a close friend and colleague of the Archbishop attended the opening on behalf of the Desmond Tutu foundation. The new library will also host a small photographic installation of the Archbishops’ visit to Swellendam in 2013, which will be available for public viewing for approximately 12 weeks following the opening today.
Municipal Manager Anton Groenewald iterated a quote from one of Archbishop Tutu’s many speeches ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument’– a very strong message especially in our cancel culture, our false narrative culture and our polarising fake news culture. We respond before we even understand. We react before we take time to assess the authenticity of the news. We can do so much better. We must do so much better. We are so much better than what we are seeing today. This library is therefore testimony to the Archbishop’s desire for lifelong learning. When he was not campaigning for one or other cause, he was teaching and lecturing at some of the leading institutions in the world. Let all who enter this library know that there is no limitation to what can be achieved if you set your mind to it. It is indeed a joyous occasion to celebrate the life of a such a great humanitarian with this simple gesture.’
The library officially opens to the public on Monday, 30 May 2022 at 09h00. Library opening and closing hours on week days are from 09h00 to 17h00. Saturdays are from 09h00 to 12h00.
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