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Parliamentary budget vote debate: Arts and Culture – ANC government not serious about minorities’ language and culture

The statement by an EFF member that Afrikaans is a disgusting language is an insult to all speakers of the language. The FF Plus views South Africa as a tapestry of communities with various beautiful languages and cultures that should all be respected, valued and promoted.

In light of this, it is clear that the mandate of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is extremely important for nation building through the promotion of language and culture as stipulated in the National Development Plan.

The United Nations declared 2019 as the international year of indigenous languages. Its main objective is to create more awareness of the importance of indigenous languages – not only among the speakers of these indigenous languages, but also among others so as to cultivate an appreciation for the important contribution that these languages make to the rich cultural heritage of the world in which we live.

The significance of indigenous languages is also entrenched in the Constitution and they must be protected and promoted at all costs.

It is a myth that a language will survive as long as it is spoken. The reality is that there are languages disappearing on a daily basis because they do not have the power and means to hold out against more dominant languages. The conservation and development of the higher functions of South Africa's eleven official languages must be prioritised. The mediums used for instruction must be expanded so as to include more languages.

The FF Plus condemns the increasing anglicising of educational, political and public institutions at the cost of indigenous languages under the smokescreen of international trade. No language is above another.

It is senseless for the government to hold a summit on social cohesion in 2012, but then to do nothing to implement the decisions that were made there. It is also useless to spend nearly 90% of a programme's budget on the development of arts and culture without making sure that it is carried out.

An example is the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) project that aimed to contribute to economic development and job creation – R100 million was paid out without prior approval and now the money may very well be lost. The FF Plus wants to know where the money went.

When it comes to cultural events and music forms, funding should be appropriate. Minorities, like the Malays, the Khoi, San and Afrikaners, get the bad end of the stick. There was apparently also no money available to support the philharmonic orchestras of Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal, while other music and art forms received generous financial support.

The Department may not be able to teach South Africans mutual respect, but it certainly can promote it by setting an example of tolerance and the equal promotion of all languages and cultures. Under the rule of the ANC government, this does not happen.

Contact number: 072 997 8315

 

 

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