In this open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, teacher educators, academics and practitioners in education, literacy, African language development and related fields, voice their concerns regarding the limited role African language speakers have played (and continue to play) in education and language reform in South Africa. The letter draws attention to the fact that the department of education has surrounded itself with researchers who have positioned themselves as experts in literacy and African language development; whilst many of them do not speak, read and write African languages. Black researchers, academics and practitioners, on the contrary, are only included as “props or translators rather than the core team that does the work of setting the research agenda”.
Find out why they are calling for change. Read the entire letter now.
Speakers of African languages are better positioned to comment on language-related matters where their languages are concerned.
Africans should spear head language reform in education
These words and voices are important.
How can someone be an African language “expert” if they don’t speak, read or write the language? That boggles the mind.
As the director of a literacy organisation supporting young children I see first hand the life changing (for the worst) effect on children’s learning due to the issues around learning in home language and having to switch into language of learning in Grade 4.
We need a diverse team to focus for once and for all on this problem. And yes, at the heart of this team we must have African language speakers.
I worked for a publishing house some time ago and in their English department they did not have even one black person because they believed that we did not understand the language even though we are socialized in English from birth, we learn English from Grade R and actually learn all our subjects in English. Meanwhile, most white people do not even know how to greet in our languages and yet they are put in high positions to decide on our languages. This is utter disrespect to our languages and culture and it needs to stop Mr President.
This is ridiculous. Why is self hate our default position?
Our languages need to be prioritised. Enough with allowing Afrikaans and English dominance in a country whose majority do not speak these as mother tongue.
I agree nale leta. Change mayize ngoku.
Speakers of Native African languages must be at the heart and leadership of language matters when it comes to the vernacular.
Sokuyisikhathi la inkululeko kufanele ifike nasolimini lwethu.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the initial intent was to drive Africans away from who they are by undermining their languages and by so doing, their culture. I now know that project won’t succeed bcs there’s a push from all sides to ‘force’ us regain our dignity. The African languages will thrive bcs young people are now ‘woke’, dare I say.. They may not be fluent in them but they want them back into their lives… 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
This is an appeal to our government, as very few of us can speak, write and understand our indigenous language without mixing it with English.
It is up to us to stand and find meaning of our diversity. It is more than a constitutional right , in fact it is our human right that our language is being used.