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International Mother Language Day: ANC targets mother-tongue education at the expense of cultural diversity

(Member statement in Parliament)

International Mother Language Day was recently celebrated. A day on which recognition is given to the importance and value of every individual’s mother language.

The theme of this year's International Mother Language Day was: “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”.

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance to humankind and the planet. Due to globalisation processes, many languages are waning and some even disappear completely.

When languages fade away, the world's rich tapestry of cultural diversity also loses some of its colour.

Opportunities, traditions, memories, unique ways of thought and expression, which are all valuable resources for building a better future, are also lost.

Unfortunately, this is allowed to happen here in our country too, in our very own South Africa, which is known for its cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The fact that nothing is done to implement the constitutional provisions about language, the development, conservation and protection thereof, is extremely alarming.

Provincial language legislation is overlooked and the neglect of mother-tongue education – or actually, the ANC government's targeting of it – contributes to the global decline of cultural diversity.

It is unacceptable and may not be tolerated. It is the government's duty to implement constitutional provisions; to protect, promote and develop indigenous and mother languages to the benefit of all South Africans.

 

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