Mother tongue must be taught at all schools

While watching a wildlife documentary with my four-year-old son recently, I was greatly saddened to learn that we are losing our languages.

While watching a wildlife documentary with my four-year-old son recently, I was greatly saddened to learn that we are losing our languages.

My son wanted to know if I knew the name of the big cat being profiled. When I gave the African name of the animal, he was amazed that I did know, and promptly told me the English word.

Many responsible black parents find themselves in this position. The reason is that in an attempt to guarantee our kids finish school, we have to send them to English first-language schools where no African languages are taught.

The contradiction is that there are more black children in most of these schools so it would be fair to pass a law that all pupils must learn their mother tongue.

It is comforting though that our government is trying to correct the situation by insisting that the language of choice of consumers is used when entering into certain legal contracts such as the National Credit Act. It is also commendable that schools are offering all subjects in African languages.

A publication with a mass following like Sowetan, can also help in preserving our languages by publishing in the vernacular. In the short-term, the many unemployed teachers qualified to teach African languages can be roped in to help.

Tshepo Mofubetsoana

Johannesburg

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