Long walk to indigenous language recognition

File: Sandile Masondo will meet with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (left) to discuss how to effectively promote the use of African languages. Video: eNCA

Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal man is crossing the province on foot to emphasise the importance of indigenous languages.

Sandile Masondo is canvassing communities along the three-thousand kilometre journey, and has scheduled a meeting with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to discuss how to effectively promote the use of African languages.

Masondo’s activism started when he failed a university entrance exam because he could not adequately express himself in English.

He believes indigenous languages are side-lined in South Africa...

“I've went far as going to the university where I was rejected because simply because I could not understand English and I think there's more that should be done in terms of judging people with their language. Rather let us judge them on what they can come up with.”

Along his three-thousand kilometre route Masondo is hoping to find out how language barriers have affected locals...

And the opportunities they may have missed due to an inability to converse in English.

He wants to hand over the results of this survey to the Arts and Culture Department for consideration.

And an African languages expert says there is merit in Masondo’s concerns.

“When a person comes to an environment where it's based on English concepts it becomes hard to interpret or to understand what is it that they exactly mean with a particular concept. There are studies that have been done - mother tongue teaching is always a success,” said Gugu Mkhize,

an African Languages lecturer.

Masondo expects to complete his journey in August.


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