Promoting indigenous languages this Reconciliation Month

Monday, December 9, 2019

As December marks Reconciliation Month in South Africa, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on all South Africans to preserve, develop and promote all indigenous languages.

“Like many African countries, South Africa emerged from an oppressive, divisive and colonial system which created a fragmented society. Recently, we have seen that much remains to be done to build non-racialism in particular. While the nation-building project has made many advances in the 25 years of democracy, the current reality points to mind-sets that need to be changed.

“The government is doing everything within its power to preserve, develop and promote all indigenous languages as it is a great transmission line that binds us to our forebears,” said Mthethwa.

The Minister urged everyone across all racial groups to come together and challenge racism, patriarchy and gender-based violence, and to advance non-racialism, non-sexism and human solidarity.

South Africa will commemorate Reconciliation Day on 16 December 2019 at Bergville Municipal Sports Complex, OKhahlamba Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

The commemoration will take place under the theme: The Year of Indigenous Languages: Supporting National Reconciliation Through the Promotion, Development and Preservation of Indigenous Languages.

This year’s commemoration will put an emphasis on the significance of indigenous languages in line with the United Nation General Assembly’s proclamations for 2019.

“Today our multilingual diversity makes us a unique society. In advancing indigenous languages in our nation, we can give social and political recognition to disadvantaged language groups as it helps to keep our individual cultures alive and binds us to our history,” said the Minister.

Mthethwa said Reconciliation Month is of even greater importance today as 25 years into democracy, the privilege attached to race, class and gender has not yet been fully reversed despite positive strides.

In response to this reality, the government through the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with other government departments and institutions, will host activities on the notion of reconciliation, constitution, as well as social cohesion and nation building. These include the following:

  • Minister Mthethwa will on Tuesday, 10 December 2019 deliver a keynote address during a commemorative lecture to mark the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (into law by Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville) at the Vereeniging City Theatre at 10am. The lecture is hosted under the theme: living the values and the promises of a constitutional order.
  • In an effort to provide a road-map on Africa’s Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route, Minister Mthethwa will also on Tuesday, 10 December 2019, launch the General Hashim Mbita Publication. The Launch will take place at the Constitution Hill, Johannesburg at 3pm.
  • The Department of Arts and Culture will host an inter-generational dialogue on social cohesion and nation building on Thursday, 12 December 2019 at Bergville Municipal Sports Complex, OKhahlamba Local Municipality in the KZN at 5pm.
  • The Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environment Affairs will host an Engagement with Captains of Industries on Monday, 16 December 2019 in Escort, KZN at 9am.
  • The Freedom Park Heritage Site and Museum will also on Monday, 16 December host social cohesion dialogue and interfaith Prayer for peace, victims of hate crimes at the Freedom Park, Pretoria between 6am and 1pm.