Call to speak Zulu in govt

2016-10-11 11:28
Group wants ‘Africa’s unifying language’ declared official language in all 11 KZN districts.

Group wants ‘Africa’s unifying language’ declared official language in all 11 KZN districts. (File)

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A KZN lobby group is on a mission to see Zulu adopted as the province’s official language.

The Zulu Language Advocates and Preservationists organisation is mobilising the public to support their bid to secure a constitutional amendment that will see Zulu declared the province’s official language in its 11 districts.

The group’s spokesperson, Mlungisi Zwane, said Zulu is “Africa’s common and unifying language” that needed to be adopted as the official language at all levels of government.

“In a pluralistic nation such as ours, the function of government should be to foster and support the similarities that unite us, rather than institutionalise the differences that divide us,” he said.

Zwane said there should be consequences for those districts that refuse to adopt Zulu as the official language.

“We will oppose the admission of territories as districts unless they have adopted Zulu as their official language.”

The group is also calling for the ending of bilingual education, in favour of Zulu language “immersion programmes” in public schools.

“Our province’s public schools have the clear responsibility to help students who don’t know Zulu to learn that language as quickly as possible. To do otherwise is to sentence the child to a lifetime of political and economic isolation.

“Quality teaching of Zulu and Africa’s civic culture should be a part of every student’s curriculum. The study of foreign languages, as an academic discipline, should be strongly encouraged,” he said.

Foreigners thinking of applying for South African citizenship “should be required to demonstrate knowledge of Zulu, and an understanding of our system of government, at a level sufficient to vote in the language of our province,” said Zwane.

“Naturalisation ceremonies, including the Oath of Citizenship, must be conducted in Zulu,” he said.

Zwane said the right to use other languages must still be respected. In line with this principle, the group wants government documents, including the 2019 voting ballots, translated into languages other than Zulu.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  official languages

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