It’s back to school time for the Nama language

Plans to preserve the rich history and heritage of the Northern Cape has been granted through the development of the indigenous African language Nama.

Premier Sylvia Lucas, accompanied by members of her executive council, as well as a delegation from Namibia, officiated the introduction of Nama at the Riemvasmaak Primary School on Monday (29/01).

Because Nama had recently not been part of the national curriculum framework as a language subject, the permission of Angie Motshekga, minister of Basic Education, was needed for this venture to be pursued.

The addition of Nama will be boosted by the Northern Cape Government’s standing twinning agreement with the Namibian //Kharas Region, of which Education forms a critical part. Specific focus will be put on the development of the Nama language.

The department revealed that work had already been done to introduce Nama as an extramural activity at two schools, phasing it in from Gr. R.

The two identified schools are situated in Riemvasmaak and Khuboes, towns that are situated on the border between Namibia and South Africa. Nama is spoken very prominently here.

Lucas highlighted that Nama, also known as Khoekhoe, was a Khoisan language spoken by about 250 000 people in parts of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

“It is spoken by three groups of people: the Nama (Khoekhoen), Damar and Haikom. Many Nama-speaking people reside in Upington, Kakamas, Riemvasmaak, Pella, Kuboes, Steinkopf, Augrabies and Marchand,” said Lucas.

“Therefore, Nama, as a subject, is not foreign to Northern Cape schools. It was once taught in four schools in our province, here at Riemvasmaak, Steinkopf and the Richtersveld.

“As early as 2000, Nama was introduced as a subject in these towns in an effort to preserve the Nama language.”

Elaborating on the challenges experienced in the introduction of this project, leading to delays, she pointed out that the sample pilot schools had been too large at first.

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