#AfricaDay: Introduce African language learning early at school - academic

Dr Xolani Mavela says that although he would love to see more academic work being published in isiXhosa and other African languages, it should start at schools.

Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The continent marks Africa Day on Friday and an isiXhosa academic says that his dream is to see more schools offering an African language.

Dr Xolani Mavela is so passionate about his home language that he wrote his doctoral thesis in isiXhosa.

Mavela says that although he would love to see more academic work being published in isiXhosa and other African languages, it should start at schools.

“Why not start in the foundation phase and say every child entering school must have an African language that is spoken predominantly in their province. As they grow up in this language, we will have a true multilingual, multicultural and divergent society.”

In May last year, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expressed government’s commitment to see at least 50% of schools offering an African language by 2018.

In the Western Cape, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer spoke about the need for African languages to be introduced in Western Cape classrooms during her provincial education budget vote in April.

“We’ve been training more teachers now and we’ll be rolling it out to an additional 254 schools in the second term, which is about 721 grade one classes and 26,350 learners.”

Additional reporting by Shamiela Fisher & Lindsay Dentlinger.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)