University of Pretoria Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, arms crossed, welcomes students to the start of the academic year. Thobile Mathonsi/ African News Agency (ANA)
University of Pretoria Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, arms crossed, welcomes students to the start of the academic year. Thobile Mathonsi/ African News Agency (ANA)

University of Pretoria display hails 11 official languages

By Chelsea Ntuli Time of article published Feb 22, 2020

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AS THEY joined the country in celebrating Unesco’s Mother Tongue Day yesterday, Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria offered tours of its four exhibitions in all 11 South African official languages

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has celebrated International Mother Language Day for 20 years, with the aim to preserve linguistic diversity and promote multilingual education.

Throughout the day, tours were carried out in each language, with Boitumelo Makousa, who works at the centre, facilitating a tour in SeSotho and Setswana. Other facilitators led tours in isiZulu, Venda, Afrikaans, siSwati, Xhosa and Tsonga, while visitors offered their perspectives on how they perceived the artwork in languages they felt comfortable in.

February is also language activism month, aimed at encouraging South Africans to speak and live their languages and create a more multilingual society.

PanSALB acting chief executive David Maahlamela previously said South Africans should get used to speaking their indigenous languages to preserve history.

“As we celebrate our linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, it is important that we continue reflecting on the Republic’s use of all official languages and other languages as enshrined in the

Constitution, including so-called

dialects,” he said.

Javett-UP houses four groundbreaking exhibitions which include 101 - Collecting Conversations - Signature works of a Centre (a collection of 101 signature works of South African art selected from collections around the country); All in a Day’s Eye: The Politics of Innocence in the Javett Collection, guest curated by Gabi Ngcobo; National Treasures (an exhibition of significant gold pieces from the Mapungubwe Gold Collection) and more than 350 artefacts from

the AngloGold Ashanti Barbier-Mueller Gold of Africa Collection from West Africa.

The director of Javett-UP, Christopher Till, yesterday said art was for everybody, and it told the story of where one came from and why they found themselves right there and then.

“Art is not a practice or pursuit reserved for a tiny portion of people who are schooled in fine art, in art appreciation or in reverence for priceless masterpieces that hang in hallowed galleries,” he said.

Pretoria News

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