In this picture: Ouma Griet Jantjies, one of the last 5 remaining spekers of the N/uu laguage, is laid to rest in a traditional ceremony in Upington.  Piet Arendse starts the ceremony by starting a fire the traditional way. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives.
In this picture: Ouma Griet Jantjies, one of the last 5 remaining spekers of the N/uu laguage, is laid to rest in a traditional ceremony in Upington. Piet Arendse starts the ceremony by starting a fire the traditional way. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives.

'Honour our indigenous languages'

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Aug 9, 2019

Share this article:

Cape Town - Higher education systems have been urged to further accommodate indigenous languages to encourage the youth to reclaim and embrace their culture and mother tongue language.

Associate professor of multilingualism education at UCT Mbulungeni Madiba said: “According to research, it is shown that there has been a slight decline in the use of indigenous languages in society. The concern is that indigenous languages need to be used more at key domains such as universities.

“In order for a language to be strongly developed, it needs to be used. The academic language of English and Afrikaans is where it is today because of how it is being used.

“If the indigenous languages are also used and developed in a similar way then they will become cultivated in society,” said Madiba.

Professor and chairperson of the Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University Michael le Cordeur said: “Unfortunately our country’s history is such that in 1925 only two languages, English and Afrikaans, were declared official languages, the result being that all government resources were channelled to those languages. Our other languages were left behind and not developed as academic languages.”

Le Cordeur said in 1994 the democratic government tried to rectify the situation by recognising 11 official languages, but this was too late.

Today more youth were migrating to the English language and the lack of resources in indigenous languages would continue to hamper their growth unless the state took further action.

Head of the Xhosa Department at UWC Dr Sebolelo Mokapela said: “Language plays a vital role in shaping one’s identity and indigenous languages are the languages that set our norms and standards within society. The resource material at institutions must be available in indigenous languages.”

@Sukainaish

[email protected]

Cape Argus

Share this article: