Violence against education

Mary Jansen, secretary of Seniors in Action, Retreat, and leader of the Khoisan Indigenous Women, Retreat

It is with grave concern that I express a need for more urgent addressing of the recent barbaric act of human rights violation perpetrated against our community by criminals who destroyed the Retreat library.

Libraries are centres of learning and community development that act as safe spaces for our children who lack extra curricular activities at our schools, and who are continually threatened by gangsterism and violence, even within the home.

Libraries also offer our elders the same kind of safety and development.

They are are spaces invested with community-will, which tragically these criminals destroyed, clearly in ignorance of the power of literacy and self-respect.

But questions remain. Where were the police? This act of violence happened within eye-shot and walking distance from the police station. Did an alarm not go off? What does the CCTV footage offer, from the camera which was installed by the City of Cape Town, advocated by the Retreat Steenberg Civic Association? Should there not have been 24-hour security personnel stationed at the library, given the kinds of resources kept on the premises? How do we begin to assess the social impact of this terrorist act?