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Thursday, 7 May 2020

African Writers Urge For Protection Of Languages

African Writers Urge For Protection Of Languages

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Cape Town - Aspiring African writers, authors and academics in the Western Cape have urged government to enforce policies that will protect indigenous languages.
They told Arts and Culture Minister Dr Pallo Jordaan during an Imbizo held at Stellenbosch University on Wednesday that they were concerned about the lack of legislation regarding indigenous languages and writings.

According to a statement released by the MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, Whitey Jacobs, the writers felt African languages in South Africa were constantly under threat because there is no legislation that enforces their protection and usage.
The imbizo noted that the erosion of indigenous languages was further perpetuated by the critical shortage of new written material in African languages as a result of the publishing company's resistance.

Writers voiced their concern about the continued marginalisation of IsiXhosa at public schools as well as in Model C schools.

Current education policy stipulates that Grade 10 learners must take only two languages as subjects at the imbizo, they writers said, adding that government should introduce legislation that would enforce the usage of all official languages.
"This places IsiXhosa and other indigenous languages at a disadvantage because of the perceived inferiority of these languages," read the statement.

The authors urged the Department of Education to ensure learners at the foundation stage are taught in the respective mother tongue to ensure good prospects for the development of these marginalised languages.

Publishing companies were blamed for failing to provide adequate support to African writers which are resulting in the scarcity of written material of indigenous languages.
Accessing funding and resourcing of structures was also discussed at the imbizo, which forms part of government's imbizo week.

Mr Jordaan said he would ask the National Arts Council to embark on a road show in all the nine provinces to brief organisations about the processes and procedures for a successful application. - BuaNews

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