Languages need recognition

MACUFE
MACUFE

A LACK of proficiency and interest in various languages contribute heavily to poor academic performance and to loss of the norms and values embodied in the languages.

A LACK of proficiency and interest in various languages contribute heavily to poor academic performance and to loss of the norms and values embodied in the languages.

In our country we have a situation in which indigenous languages are under threat. Young people know little about their history and heritage. In my view literature is one way of making people appreciate the beauty of languages.

Poems, stories and plays encourage people to immerse themselves in the study of languages.

Oral literature and performance poetry are particularly potent and effective mediums and platforms of social commentary, awareness raising and narrating history. This country is rich with known and unknown, exposed and unexposed griots, raconteurs and bards writing in all the languages of this country.

It was therefore scandalous that the Mangaung Arts and Culture Festival (Macufe) featured car, soccer and fashion shows last year at the expense of marginalising the visual arts and completely excluding the literary arts.

At the moment there seems to be no signs that the literary and visual arts will be given a platform at this year's Macufe.

The tragic thing is that when the literary arts are featured, particularly poetry, people who write in African languages and writers from Free State are marginalised or excluded.

If this situation persists Macufe will be a lost opportunity to use arts and culture as a tool of development and empowerment.

Mphutlane wa Bofelo, Durban

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