The Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation just reminded us that it’s literacy month. I for one was not aware of this because I love reading books, and I have not stopped because books are just another way to entertain your mind and energy.
In this month, heritage plays a national role in terms of culture and language. With tourism continuing to be at the forefront of September days, it’s pretty clear that it means we should embrace our rich history and environments.
In Mpumalanga, we have a rich and unique history in terms of tourism, nature, cultures and the many languages that live. For someone who is an outsider of this pioneering spirit, they see Mpumalanga belonging to the SiSwati people only, and mainly in the city. When one speaks an odd language and you tell them your place of residence is Mpumalanga, you are then asked “how come?”
Besides the famous Siswati and Tsonga languages associated with many residents, there is a unique, mixed and rarely found language in the Mapulana home soil. I have no experienced knowledge as to where the history of the language emerges, or when it came from. I don’t think it’s as clear as daylight like Jan Van Riebeeck.
There have been talks, I overheard, about bringing a Sepulana dictionary to the familiar forefront of literature and books written in the language. I however find myself being in confusion with the idea. I mean who is to say that someone is wrong or “write” in this complex language? Who has an extensive use of creativity flowing to produce a related oxford dictionary of words?
My tongue belongs to the native and unfamiliar language; and I proudly believe I would love to gain more knowledge of Sepulana as much as I do in English. I will familiarize and present myself to reading in vernacular, should the day fall upon us, of the books that will be published.
Sepulana is so odd that even when you take it across the country, people will stare at you and try to determine your “country” of existence. It is so sad that after all my years of presently living, I still find it tolerating to explain where Bushbuckridge is and is it on the records of Geography, and is our language recognized.
My other half of my maternal family is Sepedi origin, and whenever I’m with them, I do speak it and blend in as a daughter in the family. However, I just feel pressurized that when they are in my land, I still have to render with their linguistic nature. What happened to “when in Rome, do what the Romans do?”
Either way, its tourism, heritage and literacy month, let us try or figure out reading words in our mother tongues or borrow from others and just for a few days, put our father-tongue (English) in probation and see the difference. It will be difficult for my model C’s suburban children, and some of us who like living with both parental languages on our tongues. But it’s literacy month, where do we begin?
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