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08 JUNE 2016

PanSALB Observes the 40th anniversary of The 1976

Soweto Uprising through a Language Right Len

08 June 2016

The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) commemorates the 2016 June 16 with the rest of South Africa and beyond.  As an expression of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, June 16 marks a four decade anniversary this year. The day triggers conflictual air of pride and sadness; and Joy and Pain enveloped into one. We are proud of the freedom it ushered to all through the blood of Youth of the time.  The same pride would be hollow if we do not revere the lives of the 1976 youth who chronicled the freedom of language choice, association, coexistence, equal education and equal opportunities we all enjoy now. PanSALB says to all who laid their lives then and beyond:

Le šomile bagale ba ntwa dikgolo. Hi khensile swinene. Siyabulela!

The conscious sacrifices and the resilience you displayed in liberating all from the morass of the apartheid functionaries are ennobled by our collective hearts of hearts.  The 500 lives lost, in 1953, protesting the Bantu Education Act that foregrounded Afrikaans alongside English as the only premier languages of instruction are a unitary source of inspiration and hope that indigenous South African Languages shall be foregrounded as central mediums of business, science and education.  The blood shed by these lives heralds a move towards decolonizing the linguistic minds of South African Society thus instilling the sense of purpose towards placing these languages as mediums of value and cachet.         

The aptly crafted maxim, Youth Moving South Africa Forwardintoned in PanSALB pulse on this day calls for the Youth that speaks the indigenous South African languages to lead the movement towards retaining the ever depleting linguistic right of the indigenous languages. The incessant energy of youth is key and is herewith summoned.

“As the custodian of official languages in the country, it is important that we all understand where we come from as a nation, particularly in relations to the respect and dignity of our official languages” said the chief executive officer of the Pan South African Language Board, Dr Mpho Monareng

“South Africa as a whole has an important role to play to protect, preserve and promote multilingualism in the country.  Language forms the basis of who we are as humans and it is the foundation of all humanity” added Dr Monareng

June 1976 has indeed always brought back sad memories of unarmed children in school uniforms being sprayed with teargas, and later lives ammunition and left to die in the street of Soweto, Alexander and later on other black townships of the country.

“It is within our believe that while the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of democratic state, today’s youth activism should be directed towards successful tackling of the challenges of language inequality, which has shaped the legacy of the class of 1976, combating poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, personal development, economic freedom and the development of the country”, concluded Dr Monareng

Dr Monareng believes that language plays a vital role in the society; therefore communities should positively be empowered and a need to recognise the democratic social, educational and economic potential of their languages, if indeed multilingualism is to take root as a positive force in this country.