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Unisa Library partners with Swartland Municipality

On 10 May 2024, the launch of the Unisa Library and Swartland Municipality partnership took place at the Malmesbury Library. This landmark occasion was attended by library staff from both entities, various stakeholders from the Swartland Municipality, Regional Student Representative Council members and Unisa students.

Madelaine Terblanche, Director of Corporate Services of the Swartland Municipality, began the day by welcoming all the guests to the Malmesbury Library. She was followed by Nicolene Smit, the Democratic Alliance councillor for the area. She gave a meaningful speech, talking about the importance of libraries as beacons of inclusivity that have the power of the three Es, that is, to educate, enrich and empower their users – most importantly, those underprivileged students who need free access to all the facilities provided by libraries.

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Freeman Zulu, Nicolene Smit, Prof Mpho Ngoepe, Cecilia Larey, Dr Shahieda Jansen, Sarah van Wyk, Michelle Biederman and Talita Vida
Front: Mdu Ncongwane

The next speaker, Prof Mpho Ngoepe, Unisa Library Services Executive Director, reiterated Smit’s view in his opening comment: "If you go alone, you go fast – if you go together, you go far." The partnership between Unisa and the Swartland Municipality can provide students with access to the resources that they need, to complete their studies and become lifelong learners.

Dr Shahieda Jansen, Deputy Director: Academic and ICT Support Services, Unisa Western Cape, took the audience through her own journey of studying through Unisa from undergraduate to doctorate level. She described the partnership as shortening the distance between the students and Unisa, as the online environment is challenging on so many levels. She then explained her programme of Umoya and self, and indicated that she would like to bring her "Storytelling for Men" programme to the Municipality.

Next up, the Unisa students had the opportunity to talk about their study journeys at Unisa, and how the partnership has assisted them. Sarah Van Wyk and Tarryn Smit thanked Unisa for the services being provided at the library every month, and spoke about their successes and challenges as students at Unisa.

The last speaker was Nomfundo Khumalo, Unisa Western Cape Regional Student Representative Council (SRC) Chairperson. She highlighted the changing student demographic at Unisa, which is moving away from the older students to those fresh from high school. She encouraged students to approach the SRC if they faced challenges and to vote in the upcoming National Election to ensure their voices are heard.

The event ended with the symbolic signing of the partnership by Freeman Zulu and Madelaine Terblanche. Ilse Loock, the launch’s programme director and Director for Tourism and Libraries and Public Relations in Swartland, rounded off the day with a vote of thanks to all the attendees.

Snacks and drinks were enjoyed, with some networking and photoshoots before the event concluded. The Unisa Library and Swartland Municipality look forward to a successful partnership, which will assist Unisa students to complete their studies and graduate.

* By Michelle Biederman Library Assistant, Unisa Western Cape

Publish date: 2024/05/17

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