Preserving language in Gugulethu

2019-06-13 06:00
Winners of the indigenous language competition held at Ikhwezi Community Hall in Gugulethu on Thursday 6 June.

Winners of the indigenous language competition held at Ikhwezi Community Hall in Gugulethu on Thursday 6 June.

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Primary schools in Gugulethu and the surrounding areas converged at Ikhwezi Community Hall to compete in an indigenous language competition on Thursday 6 June.

The event was organised by USiba Loluntu, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that encourages learners to read languages to preserve and promote indigenous language at primary schools. They are in partnership with the National Library of South Africa’s Centre for the Book (CFB).

Grade 4 to 7 learners from Luzuko, Vuyani, Vukukhanye, Siyazingisa, Mseki, Lwazi, Litha, Sokhanyo, Sonwabo, Bonga, Xolani and Lehlohonolo all from Gugulethu, Hopolang from Khayelitsha, Masivuke from Philippi and John Pama from Nyanga took part in the contest.

Bongani Banjwa, treasurer for USiba, described the competition as a “stepping stone” for learners.

He said the plan is to encourage young learners to be proud of their languages and to read regularly.

“We are focusing only on isiXhosa and Sotho languages,” he said and called other schools to join the initiative.

Phakama Matoti, project coordinator for the Children Literature Programme at the National Library of South Africa’s CFB, said the centre has reading clubs in different areas. They support learners with reading materials. “We want people to read for pleasure and be proud of their languages,” said Matoti. She added they keep constant contact with the schools for feedback.

A teacher at Vuyani, Golela Mdleleni said ever since their learners participated in the competition their marks improved. He said he wishes the competition can be held twice a year.

He added that the winner from each category will walk away with a trophy, second place with a medal and third place with a certificate. The trophy will not stay at school but will go with a learner because they want to inspire them and boost their spirit. Banjwa said each school is represented by three learners.

The Xhosa language winners were Zinomkhitha Silwana from Mseki Primary School (first), Mivuyo Madlodlo from Sokhanyo Primary School (second), Asalungile Tsotho from Vuyani Primary School (third).

The Sotho language winners were: Lerato Koloti from Lehlohonolo Primary School (first), Bonolo Sello from Hopolang Primary (second) and Gomolemo Mokhanya from Hopolang Primary School (third).

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