PRETORIA, Research shows that there are 13 indigenous languages belonging to the Khoi, San and Nama still spoken in South Africa today and the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb) has embarked on a process to develop a national strategic plan for the development and promotion of these language groups.
Pansalb wants to ensure that indigenous languages are preserved for posterity.
About 300 people, comprising academics and representatives of indigenous language groups, deliberated on the state of the Khoi, San and Nama languages during a two-day conference at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein this week.
Research shows that there are 13 indigenous languages belonging to the Khoi, San and Nama still spoken today but several have become extinct over the past 100 years; among them the Khwe Dam.
The Director of the Centre for African Language Diversity, Dr Matthias Brenzinger, says: “There are about 2200 languages; most of them are not written in the African continent. So, the question that people sometimes ask me, is ‘Why do you bother about helping communities to develop practical lexicographies to write their languages’?'”
The Language Board is taking the matter seriously and encouraging dialog on the issue. “The idea is to first establish the state of Khoisan language development. We want to understand that whenever we craft a strategy; how we address the Khoisan question nationally, and look at how to accelerate the development.”
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is also on board to do its part in preserving the languages. SABC General manager Thabang Tsoenyane says: “Where people have the creative capacity to sit down and write stories that reflect their traditions and culture, we encourage them as well.”
No time frame has been set for the final indigenous language strategic plan.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK