“Books take you places” was the theme of this year’s celebrations of World Book and Copyright Day, 23rd April. This was also the topic of Fagil Mandy’s contribution to the public debate on books and their use, organized by the National Library of Uganda. Mr. Mandy, an education consultant, talked about how books take you places in your mind and therefore expand your outlook in life. He pointed out that he is what he is, an educationist, a consultant, a motivator because of reading widely.
Another speaker at the event, Mrs. Victoria Ssekitoleko a former Food and Agriculture Organization representative to China, whose passion for reading has made her establish community libraries in the Busoga region talked about “Books preserving our heritage.” She pointed out that books record what we think and the ideas we have as a nation, thus preserving our heritage and history. She further cautioned the audience about the need not to let foreigners write out history and heritage but rather ensure that we write it ourselves to avoid its distortion. Mr. Robert Bake, a motivational speaker who has written eight motivational books also spoke at the event, on the topic “You are what you read.” He explained how books he reads have shaped his thinking to become what he is now.
Mr Martin Okia, the Chairman of the National Book Trust of Uganda, and a representative from the Ministry of Education, both spoke at the debate. The audience, who enthusiastically participated in the discussions, included teachers, book sellers, authors, businessmen and women and students, among others. They all concluded that it is important to individually and nationally promote reading if Uganda is to develop intellectually as a nation.