Lutchmanan a ‘gem’ of the language’
POPULAR Durban radio host and widely respected advocate for, and teacher of Tamil in South Africa, Mala Lutchmanan, was recently officially declared an international “gem” of the language.
Just a day after South Africa commemorated Women’s Day, Lutchmanan was bestowed with the “Valar Thamizh Maamani Award” (Progressive Tamil Gem) by the International Academy of Tamil Language and Culture in Chennai.
“The award refers to someone who is working tirelessly towards the propagation and promotion of the Tamil language and culture,” said Lutchmanan.
“The award acknowledges the work done by people in the Tamil diaspora. I was one among five foreign Tamils to receive the award. The committee looked at work that was done by individuals and assessed us from there. My work on Nelson Mandela in Tamil (the translation of his autobiography in Tamil and the translation of his famous quotes into Tamil) was also noted. Further, my work on Lotus FM was also applauded.”
Lutchmanan said she regarded this as an honour for the Tamil community in South Africa. “It feels great that South African Tamils are on the world map. It’s an award for all South African Tamils and especially our loyal Lotus FM listeners.”
Widely recognised and respected for being a champion ambassador for the Tamil language - in a day and age where modernism easily overrides tradition and culture - Lutchmanan said Tamil gave her a sense of identity. “It’s food for the soul. Having savoured this, I want to share this with others.
“I give all praise to God. My passion is driven by divine intervention and I also draw inspiration from the people I meet in my everyday life - my students, listeners, well-wishers, a small circle of loyal friends and an amazing family.”
Lutchmanan is an educator, author, and linguistic campaigner, and a presenter/producer at Lotus FM. You can hear her on Inisai Mazhai, Fridays from 6pm to 7pm, and The Best Of Kodambakkam, Sundays from 1pm to 3pm