My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Since the inaugural People’s Summit for Quality Education in June, Equal Education has been active on many fronts. In mid-July, EE members staged a sleep-in outside Parliament where we reiterated our call that Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga adopt regulations providing for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.
We are also in the process of establishing the Equal Education Law Centre, which will provide specialised expertise in education law and policy. The EE Law Centre will open its doors in January 2012.
Most importantly, we are preparing for court action against the National and Provincial Departments of Education. We are joined in this action by the infrastructure crisis committees of two schools in the Eastern Cape (see http://www.equaleducation.org.za/node/606).
This week sees the start of the inaugural Open Book Festival in Cape Town (http://openbookfestival.co.za/). Equal Education has been partnering with Open Book. In part, this will help leverage support for our ‘1 School! 1 Library! 1 Librarian!” campaign among festival-goers. But beyond this, we are hoping that the Youth Programme – which we have co-organised – will generate excitement for reading in the communities and schools where EE works.
During the Open Book festival, we will be hosting a town hall meeting entitled ‘Free the Book: How to make South Africa a reading nation.’ Raising the issue of literacy during a literary festival is fitting and – in our view – imperative. A recent quantitative survey conducted by the South African Book Development Council found that 51% of South African households do not have a single book in their homes, that only 14% of South Africans are active readers and that only 5% of South Africans read to their children. 45% of people polled felt that books were too expensive.
The panellists, who will be leading the discussion, are: – Jay Naidoo (former Cosatu General Secretary and co-founder of the J&J Group) – Sindiwe Magona (author) – Mignon Hardie (Managing Trustee of the FunDza Literacy Trust and co-founder of Cover2Cover Books) – Ntuthuzo Ndzomo (Equal Education).
The discussion takes place on Thursday, 22 September, at 18h00 at Hiddingh Hall (Orange Street, Gardens). Attendance is free. Please see attached invitation and join us for the discussion.
Our team at the Bookery has also been collaborating with Open Book to establish a functioning library at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha. This will be the 12th school library established through EE’s Bookery Project. The official opening takes place on Saturday, 24 September at 10h00. Thereafter, a group of young people will participate in the Open Book Youth Day, which will include a visit to the Harare Library in Khayelitsha (for readings by celebrated young authors Sifiso Mzobe and Cynthia Jele) and the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town. There the Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC) will take participants through a series of performances and activities designed to raise awareness about the importance of story-telling as well as some of the ethical dilemmas one face when telling someone else’s story.
Please contact us should you require any further information. We hope to see you Thursday evening!
Yours in Equal and Quality Education for all
Contact: Gina Fourie Equal Education Tel: +27 21 387 0022 Cell: +27 74 140 9884 Fax: +27 86 725 1652 www.equaleducation.org.za http://twitter.com/equal_education http://www.facebook.com/equal.educationBACK TO TOP