International Mother Language Day | UFH and PanSALB strengthen commitment to preserve isiXhosa language

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As the world observes International Mother Language Day today, 21 February, the University of Fort Hare (UFH) is pleased to have met with a delegation from the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) to discuss the strengthening of a partnership between the Board and the UFH isiXhosa National Lexicography Unit that seeks to preserve the isiXhosa language.
 
The delegation led by PanSALB Chief Executive Officer Mr Lance Schultz together with their CFO Mr  Tebego Watabane comprising their Company Secretary, Adv Karabo Sibanyani; Executive Head of Languages, Mr Julis Dantile; and Provincial and Senior Manager Mr Xolisa Tshongolo, met with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Partnership & Innovation, Dr Nthabi Taole-Mjimba; and Ms Zingisa Guzana who is the Director of the isiXhosa National Lexicography Unit.
 
Established in 1995, PanSLAB aims to promote multilingualism, develop the country’s official languages, and protect language rights in South Africa.

The UFH isiXhosa National Lexicography Unit was established in 1968 with the core objective of preserving and growing the isiXhosa language, since its establishment, the Unit located on the Alice campus has defined and translated about 40,000 isiXhosa words, quashing the false narrative that isiXhosa asitolikwa (isiXhosa cannot be translated).

With a shared objective, a partnership between the Unit and the Board was inevitable, and so it was forged years ago.

In 2021, speaking at the 18th African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA) International Conference that was hosted by the UFH African Languages Department and Language Centre in collaboration with ALASA and PanSALB, Prof Buhlungu underscored that the isiXhosa National Lexicography Unit is one the University's flagship achievements. "We take African languages seriously, the University has been at the heart of promoting languages since the inception of the institution in 1916.” 

During this week's meeting with the VC, the preservation of the Lovedale Press was also put on the table for further discussion.