Use of English thwarts campaign

During the festive season, I came across an Arrive Alive awareness campaign set in a rural area between Mount Ayliff and Mount Frere in Eastern Cape.

During the festive season, I came across an Arrive Alive awareness campaign set in a rural area between Mount Ayliff and Mount Frere in Eastern Cape.

The campaign was aimed at pedestrians. The display was eye-catching, with colourful banners and posters. The only let-down was the fact that all posters and banners were written in English.

To me that defeats the purpose of the campaign. I think the fact that South Africa is classified as an English-speaking country tends to mislead many people into thinking that everyone can read and write English. There are two reasons behind illiterate people wanting to be able to read and write. Firstly, people want to be able to write a letter home when they are away working in the urban areas. Secondly, older people want to be able to read their Bible.

There is no need for people to learn English because when they write letters home it is in isiXhosa and the Bible they read is in isiXhosa as well.

The Arrive Alive campaign was offside for assuming that all people living in the villages can read and write English. This is not the case. I would dearly like to caution the campaign managers to be very careful in their future campaigns because such campaigns are a matter of life and death. Everyone must get the intended message loud and clear and in a language that he/she fully understands.

Richardson Mzaidume, Pimville

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