President Cyril Ramaphosa is today leading the nation in celebrating the rich array of cultural communities and assets, natural wonders and religious communities that constitute South Africa’s diversity.
The 2019 National Heritage Day celebrations are being hosted by the Northern Cape province in Upington under the theme ‘Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of indigenous languages’.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Twenty-five years after South Africa’s transition to democracy, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution guarantees freedom of linguistic, cultural and religious association as part of promoting and maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.
The President has officially opened the Sandile Present Community Library ahead of addressing the nation at the Mxolisi Jacobs Stadium.
At the Sandile Present Community Library, the President’s Reading Circle, which encourages all citizens to become enthusiastic readers, hosted a session in which President Ramaphosa and learners read in indigenous languages.
This session was led by Katrina Esau, affectionately known as Ouma Geelmeid, a recipient of the 2014 National Order Baobab in Silver for her work in heritage preservation.
This activity was primarily aimed at showcasing and appreciating South Africa’s rich literary heritage, which must be preserved and sustained for generations to come.
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has since the beginning of September collaborated with the National Library of South Africa and the Publishers Association of South Africa to produce a volume of works written in African languages entitled ‘Writing in Nine Tongues: A catalogue of Literature and Readers in Nine African Languages for South Africa’.
The catalogue showcases more than 4 000 titles in nine African languages, namely isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga — written in different genres.