Gwen van Embden
Walking the Book: an exhibition that brings reading into focus
May 13 2001
Opened by Minister of Education Kader Asmal on the eve of National Library week, the reading room was transformed for the evening and guests were treated to a literary performance illustrating the magic of the written word. Passages from Raka by NP van Wyk Louw, Uthi Mandiyeke, (you tell me to sit quiet) Xhosa poem by AC Jordan and Nadine Gordimer’s Living in Hope and History, notes from our Century, were read in the original language and then the actors used Ingrid Johker’s ‘Intieme gespreek’  as their finale.  As the performance came to a close the dome of the National Library became a whirl of light and the exhibition was revealed.

Using a new exhibition space above the reading room, the library’s objectives are to ensure that the literary heritage of South Africa is accessible through the collections that are deposited in its vaults and that the resources are used and understood by everyone. The exhibition ‘Walking the Book’ brings these collections to the public view in an innovative and accessible way whilst also supporting the Masifunde Sonke (building a nation of readers) programme. Tracing the history of the book and particularly its development in South Africa, curator Gwen van Embden, has delved into the repositories to unearth a fascinating collection of rare books that offer the public a view into the past and towards the future.
All Content Copyright © Gwen van Embden