PRETORIA - Justice Kobue Legodi was awarded his PHD at the University of South Africa (Unisa) on Friday, becoming the first to obtain it in Setswana.
He obtained it in applied Cultural Semiotics, which is meant to analyse the process and significance of the cultural portioning of beasts of slaughter and drawing comparisons with similar practices elsewhere in the world.
“When doing research in indigenous languages, the meanings and scientific concepts are not distorted, nor is the cultural aspect lost. If education is transmitted in indigenous languages, solutions are easily found and new concepts are revealed without delay. When I was doing research in Setswana, I noticed that the data remained original and that the scientific vocabulary in Setswana expanded. This made it all the more interesting and inviting to do further research,” said Legodi.
Legodi said he faced a challenges in terms of shortage of written sources, even at institutions such as the National House of Traditional Leaders and the department of arts and culture.
He said he was unable to find publications or archival materials which aligned with his research topic, and had to resort to using old historical documents, visit different villages, traditional leaders and elders, to collect data.
His supervisor, Professor Daniel Matjila from the African Languages department at Unisa, describes him as a committed and cooperative student who always kept in touch with his supervisors, but mainly worked independently, which allowed him to complete his PhD in three years.
Legodi expressed his pride at being the first candidate to complete a PhD in Setswana at Unisa, and encouraged others to pursue research in their respective indigenous languages.
He said he believes that such academic endeavours serve to enrich cultures and languages, and help to make the outside world more aware of the scientific knowledge and concepts which indigenous languages contribute to diverse fields of study.
African News Agency (ANA)