File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – As part of UCT’s new language policy, it is offering an isiXhosa short course at no cost to staff and students.

It follows the government identifying the need to promote different languages at institutions of higher learning.

UCT Multilingualism Education Project co-ordinator Professor Mbulungeni Madiba said isiXhosa was selected as the university’s language of choice and the institution was committed to providing students and staff with additional learning opportunities in the language since 2006.

An Afrikaans short course was also introduced to the campus community for the first time this year.

According to Madiba, research indicates that many of the world’s languages are in danger of extinction.

At least one language dies every week, he said. And when a language dies, cultures, traditions and philosophies go with it. It’s for this reason that the need to preserve all languages has increased dramatically.

“Many things go with a dying language, including morals. But language is a resource, not a problem,” he said.

He described monolingualism - the ability to speak only one language - as an “exception”, and jokingly referred to it as a disease “that needs to be cured” - and with a short course.

“In the world right now, there are over 6 000 languages spoken, and a third of those languages are spoken on this continent.

“Our language policy is clear, we want students to be well-rounded, to fit into the societies they will be part of after university,” Madiba said.