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SA's 11 are 'foreign' to the Bolobedu

By unknown | Jan 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Requests that Khelovedu be made South Africa's 12th official language have been intensified.

The request to the Pan South African Language Board (PanSalb) and the Department of Education by parents of pupils in Tzaneen schools in Limpopo comes in the wake of the failure of a number of matriculants to pass the recent end-of-year examinations.

The pupils, who speak Khelovedu as their mother- tongue, failed Sepedi.

The parents said their children had difficulty translating their home language into "a foreign language" during the exams.

Mpho Molewa, a pupil in Bolobedu , said: "I failed because I could not write or speak Sepedi very well. I could not finish writing my scripts during the exams.

"This is because I was translating Khelovedu into Sepedi, which takes more time.

"Thanks to the Department [of Education] and PanSalb for making it difficult for us to make it in school.''

The chairman of the Khelovedu project in Bolobedu, Archbishop Prince Madlakadlaka, said more children would have passed the exams if they had been taught in a language they understood well.

"Children often comprehend better in the language of their parents than when they have to translate," Madlakadlaka said.

He said the Khelovedu project started in 1996 after children complained that teachers prohibited them from speaking or writing in their home language.

"We launched the Khelovedu project, [which includes] members of the Modjadji royal family and the parents of the pupils.

"We approached the Education Department and PanSalb to ask for Khelovedu to be recognised as the 12th official language," he said.

The matter was taken to the constitutional court in 1999 and PanSalb was ordered to conduct research.

According to Peter Boshego, who led the research, Khelovedu and Sepedi are dialects of Sesotho sa Lebowa (Northern Sotho). The research found that the Bolobedu cherish and respect their language.

Boshego said they also found that cases in the tribal court are conducted in Khelovedu and children wanted to be taught in Khelovedu.


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