In a quest to reinforce the essence of preserving culture and indigenous South African languages, the Department of Media, Language and Communication at the Durban University of Technology hosted a strictly isiZulu poetry event at the Cane Growers Hall on Thursday, 14 June.
Also featuring musical and dance items performed by students in the Language Practice as well as Translation and Interpreting Practice programmes, the session truly celebrated the various talents of students. As we are in the Youth Month, the 1976 Soweto Uprising was also commemorated.
Head of Department, Doctor Lolly Makubu, welcomed all those in attendance, acknowledging the presence of guests from Adams and Griggs, Ukhozi fm, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and the Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation. “I hope you enjoy everything that the department has in store for you today,” she said.
Bongani Mavuso, Ukhozi fm Senior Producer, Presenter and Poet emphasised two points: the liberating power of reading and the importance of being tenacious in terms of culture and language.
He said there is a long road yet to be travelled before indigenous languages reach the same level of recognition as English. He saluted newspapers like Isolezwe and the Daily Sun for the role they play in retaining the African culture and ensuring that African stories are told. “If we fail to showcase our culture, than that can only mean that we hate ourselves,” Mavuso warned.
“Our poets and writers have a major responsibility to ensure that our languages are not forgotten. Higher education institutions should also enshrine indigenous languages and see to it that they are included in the curricula,” he urged.
But beyond this, Mavuso inspired the youth to become avid readers. Books breed leaders and the knowledge you acquire will give you confidence to voice out your ideas and opinions at any given time, he said.
Adding to Mavuso’s compelling speech, Hlengiwe Ngcongo from the Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation spoke of reading and writing clubs and the pivotal role these play in creating knowledgeable communities.
These may be started by anyone anywhere; members will decide the size of the club and draw up a constitution for it. The benefits of reading and writing clubs, Ngcongo said, are the opportunities to publish literary works as well as the opportunities avid readers and writers have to network with seasoned writers and publishers.
Caption: Celebrating their culture and language, students outdid themselves on stage during the poetry event held at the Cane Growers Hall, ML Sultan.