HEADMEN from various villages across Bolobedu in Limpopo have been ordered by the Modjadji Royal Council to set up language committees in their areas by to assist in promoting Khelobedu as an official language.
This follows the first quarterly general assembly held at the Modjadji Traditional Authority at Khehlakoni village recently.
The committees will work jointly with other stakeholders to compile Khelobedu books and other materials that will be used to teach the language in schools.
If the bid to make Khelobedu official succeeds, it will bring the total number of official languages in the country to 12.
According to the Khelobedu language committee chairperson, Bishop Madlakadlaka Molewa the local language committees will play a major role in the development of the language, books and other study materials.
Molewa said Khelobedu was spoken by about 2,4million people in Limpopo. The Balobedu tribe is predominantly found in Bolobedu, Phalaborwa and some parts of Limpopo.
The committees would consist of teachers and other intellectuals who would be able to execute their duties effectively according to their knowledge of the language.
Molewa said preparations to declare Khelobedu an official language were at an advanced stage.
He said everything was now in the hands of Minister of Local Government and Cooperative Governance Sicelo Shiceka.
"Once minister Shiceka responds favourably, the language would be declared an official language and probably be taught in our schools," Molewa said.
He said Khelobedu-speaking pupils had been forced to learn Sepedi at schools. Molewa said this was wrong because Sepedi was not their mother tongue.
This affected their general school performances, especially in the matric examination, he said.