VISITING THE NATIONAL LIBRARY, PRETORIA
By Kgang Abel Motheane
I had a wonderful, illuminating visit to the National Library of Pretoria. I was welcomed by stalwarts Margaret Kibido and Narios, and Prof John Tsebe the CEO of the library and the other staff. What was amazing was the spacious area where books were kept and displayed, all things are allocated electronically.
I was accompanied by my son-in-law, Tshepo John Baleni. The other department that roused my curiosity when Maggy showed us that, that section is where books are washed with chemicals, if students for example have dirtied the books, coffee or tea or any substances – like grease - has spoiled the books. There is also the binding section and repairing of books’ section.
There is also the auditorium that accommodates three hundred people. There is also a spacious hall that accommodates people for conferences. The books are the most important factor; there is the section of books where the books of the politicians that were banned during the time of apartheid, books like Steve Biko’s, Mandela’s, Sobukwe’s and the others.
The comment that Prof John Tsebe and fellow workers said that the Free State Authors are making a great deal impact in literature in the Free State, they said Bloemfontein writers beat and achieved more than the other provinces. The Bloemfonteiners must hoist the flag of literature up all the time!
As an extra bonus, we also visited where Dr Nelson Mandela is hospitalized – journalists from all over the world were watching and capturing with cameras around the hospital listening to what might happen to the former President (Mandela). The place witnessed a heavy traffic of cars, people, journalists; but they were kept outside the hospital, they even slept on the caravans.
I am fortunate to have experienced the history of our former President.
*Kgang Motheane is the author of several published titles