Call to speak Zulu in government

2016-10-19 06:00

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 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 pupils who don’t know Zulu to learn the 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 part of every pupil’s curriculum. The study of foreign languages, as an academic discipline, should be encouraged,” he said.

Foreigners thinking of applying for SA citizenship “should be required to demonstrate a 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.

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