PanSALB hosts collaborative workshop with SPU’s Centre for Creative Writing and African Languages

The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and the new Centre for Creative Writing and African Languages (CCWAL) at Sol Plaatje University (SPU) recently held their first joint workshop. This event, which focused on Nama Orthography, signals the Centre’s strategic objective to preserve our regional heritage.

The workshop attracted 65 delegates from across South Africa. Attendees included officials from PanSALB, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, community school facilitators and language practitioners.

The purpose of this joint venture was to highlight the significance of the Nama Spelling and Orthography Rules, to facilitate the capacity development of Khoe & San Languages (i.e. Nama, Khwedam, !Xunthali & NIuu) Community Schools Facilitators as well as forging partnerships between the different stakeholders. Other valuable information that was shared with delegates included the history and culture of the Nama-speaking people, a reflection on the SPU and PanSALB relationship, the creation of a Unit for Khoe and San Languages within CCWAL, a reflection on Khoe and San Studies, and the development of Khoe and San learner support material and reports from 4 Commissions on the Khoe & San Languages.

Mr Boichoko Moremi, PanSALB’s Senior Manager for the Northern Cape, emphasised the importance of sharing knowledge to preserve regional languages for future generations. In his welcoming address he said that “we wholeheartedly welcome this strategic partnership with the Centre and we look forward to a great working relationship in developing and promoting Khoe and San Languages in the region and the broader South Africa”.

Prof Victor Teise, Acting Director of the Centre, stated that the Centre aims to support Northern Cape languages, moving them away from marginalisation and enabling speakers to appreciate their linguistic and cultural heritage. This involves developing language resources, offering courses, and publishing research on Khoe and San languages.

 “We deem languages in the Northern Cape and the research thereof as critical resources at SPU in the transmission of knowledge, cognitive development, and effective participation in intellectual capital, a knowledge economy, and technical and scientific innovation. We believe that the Centre would elevate our Northern Cape regional languages and their variants from stigmatization and marginalization and give the speakers thereof a means to embrace and cherish their languages, identities, and cultures. The centre is collaborating with PanSALB on the development, promotion and research of the Khoe and San languages and lexicographies; short courses in conversational Namagowab/Khoekhoegowab for non-mother-tongue speakers; learner material as well as publication of books, book chapters, journal articles, and more about the Khoe and the San languages,” he said during his presentation.

The workshop highlighted the University’s role in heritage preservation and set a foundation for future efforts in promoting South Africa’s linguistic diversity.

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