As the world celebrates world mother language day, the Cultural Religions Linguistic Rights Commission hosted a conference about the importance of multilingualism in promoting social cohesion and nation building.
One of the key themes highlighted at the conference this morning was the need to allow language to flourish academically with the commission saying multilingualism was a cherished Constitutional principle that forms part of linguistic rights.
“Accordingly, this means that the rights of the various linguistic communities to use their own languages should be promoted and supported so that they can equally take part in what the country offers its citizens,” the commission said.
Professor Monwabisi Ralarala, Director of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) African Languages Association Of South Africa said there was a need for multilingual programmes for students in order to be a "wholitis student".
“If you take a medical student to a rural area, it is expected that the student speak the language of the people,” said Ralarala.