[lg policy] South Africa: No burden in 11 official languages - Xingwana

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 22 16:40:16 UTC 2010

Title: No burden in 11 official languages - Xingwana

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Government considers South Africa having 11 official
languages as an asset rather than a burden, says Arts and Culture
Minister Lulu Xingwana. Xingwana unveiled government's multilingualism
campaign at Freedom Park, Pretoria on Saturday. "Government considers
its many languages as asset, but not a burden. While committed to
political and economic integration, government actively promotes the
freedom of its citizens to speak and write in their own languages,"
she said.

She said the country must be quick to understand that its languages
are assets in cultural, social and also economic terms, adding that
similar campaigns are necessary to raise public interest in language
matters.Xingwana also pledged to support measures in place in place to
promote multilingualism. "When I say multilingualism, I mean two
things essentially: respect for linguistic diversity and language
learning," she said. Government's commitment to multilingualism is
also longstanding. In 2003, Cabinet endorsed a National Language
Policy Framework (NLPF).

This was done with a view to establishing the principle of linguistic
diversity. The motto on the Coat of Arms, "Diverse People Unite" is a
reflection of the multilingualism which lies at the heart of the
national policy on language. Xingwana outlined three strands of the
multilingual policy to focus on during the campaigns. These include
encouraging language learning and promoting linguistic diversity in
communities; promoting a healthy multilingual economy; as well as
promoting social integration through improved knowledge and acceptance
of different languages.

Through a bursary scheme, Xingwana's department offers
language-learning opportunities and training in language practice. The
scheme seeks to build linguistic capacity, improving skills for
language practitioners and raising awareness of the importance of
languages. The youth who attended the launch commended government for
launching the multilingualism campaign. 17-year old Khabonina Masuka
of Mamelodi said: "As young people we view this as an important move
because we need to be proud of our own indigenous languages."

Mxoxolo Salmani, 18 of Westonaria said government's plan to promote
its languages will make more people realise that in South Africa there
is no language which is inferior.
Pascalis Moletsane, 17, also from Westonaria said he was prepared to
learn other languages such as Tshivenda and Xitsonga. UNESCO declared
February as international Mother Tongue Day. - BuaNews

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