'isizulu is declining'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for arts, culture and tourism Weziwe Thusi has expressed concern about insufficient efforts by multiracial schools to ensure that isiZulu is being taught and given priority.

Thusi said they were working hard to make it compulsory for multi- racial schools to teach isiZulu.

Thusi was speaking at the international mother tongue celebrations at Shayamoya Stadium at Umzinto on Saturday.

She said the greatest concern was that other schools in the province were not teaching the language at all.

Thusi said the language committee would be meeting education MEC Ina Cronje to address this matter.

"The system used in these schools does not appeal to our society," she said.

"Children tend to forget the importance of their languages and they practice those languages that are given priority.

"Parents end up being forced to try the same language which is not their mother tongue."

Thusi felt that government documents should be written in all languages to be understood by all people.

"People find difficulties when they read and fill in government documents because they are not in their mother tongue.

"Our provincial government has the Masifunde programme in which the elderly are taught basics, but the first language they can read is their mother tongue.

"And there is no way that they can be taught in a different language."

Thusi said parents also needed to play a pivotal role to ensure that their children spoke isiZulu in their homes.

"It's important that our children understand their origins in this world of diversity," she said.

KwaZulu-Natal has a diversity of indigenous languages estimated at over 25, but only three are official.

Thusi said the province had embarked on a mission to ensure that all languages in the province received recognition.

She said isiXhosa was one of the languages that would be spoken in the province.

The celebration was attended by poets from different ethnic groups and prayers were conducted in different languages.