Friday, July 29, 2011

Zimbabwe International Book Fair 2011 provides key to Africa's Development

Jumbo Editorial Team

This year's edition of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) in Harare was being held under the theme Books for Africa's Development highlighted the need to make books accessible to all, considering their critical role in development as equity of education as well as distribution of reading material was considered a pre-requisite as for this goal.

There was plenty of activity at the Harare Gardens from July 25 to 29 where the bookworms and the intellectuals gathered in large numbers to emphasize the point that the books indeed hold the key for Africa’s development.

The ZIBF is acclaimed as Africa’s premier book and publishing trade fair, showcasing a large and diverse collection of books, magazines, journals CD-ROMS as well as printing and publishing services.

The participants at the ZIBF’s Indaba stressed the need to focus more on the rural populace with special focus on creating rural libraries in marginalised areas.

In her presentation entitled ‘Flying on the wings of my soul: The case of village libraries in Zimbabwe’ Talent Nyathi gave an account of factors leading to the marginalisation of populations in rural communities as well as how these challenges can be overcome in order to develop a free and independent book culture in Zimbabwe.

"I choose to share my journey to the village libraries that are constructed by mud, painted by the colourful soils dug from the river banks and anthills. I explore pleasant surprises I discovered after rural people defined lack of books as one of the multiple poverties that they live with," a part of her presentation read.

She believed that there’s a serious misconception which has led to efforts on providing reading materials being concentrated in urban areas, home to more educated or enlightened populations than the rural populace who continue to wait in vain for the day a parcel of books will come their way.

She spoke of how the idea of creating libraries in farming, mining and remote rural communities was met with cynicism even though in the 1980s Obadiah Moyo had pioneered the mobile rural library (a donkey drawn cart) which produced remarkable results for communities in which this initiative was launched.

Her views, carrying enormous weight, were appreciated and the newspaper did publish her views prominently. She certainly has raised the right points at the right forum. The issues she has highlighted also relate to quite a few other under-developed nations.

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