International Mother Tongue Day Celebration – 2016
“Mother Tongue is more than a language, it’s a means of communication and profound self-expression”
Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust (GAHT), funded by The National Arts Council of South Africa hosted International Mother Tongue Day on the 20 February 2016, at the Durban Music School. GAHT partnered with the Durban Music School to celebrate this important event for the first time in Durban, after years of celebrating this day in different provinces and internationally. Executive Director of GAHT, Dr Gcina Mhlophe, with the support of the GAHT board of trustees, welcomed the opportunity to celebrate this day in Durban, KwaZulu – Natal.
International Mother Tongue Day raises awareness about the value and pride of speaking our own languages and sharing the heritage and culture of all human kind. This aim was achieved by inviting different participants to expresses themselves in various disciplines. Music, dance and poetry were used as the disciplines of communication throughout the day. From Reunion Secondary School, Ms Mala Lutchmanan, Hindi speaker, shared her poetry, Alde Atchy from Alliance Française, Durban performed slam poetry in French. The events special guest school, KwaVulindlebe Primary School for the deaf with the assistance of their teachers enthusiastically taught everyone that sign language is also a powerful language.
A mother tongue to so many fellow citizens, that needs not only to be respected and acknowledged but also learnt by people. Nomthandazo Magoso, who is an athlete, actress dancer and marathon runner, taught the audience a few key words and expressions in sign language.
Mrs Sitandiwe Dimba from Ithala Bank, Corporate Social Investment spoke profoundly on Economic Empowerment as a language and the importance of saving from a very early age, building our economy and ourselves by knowing how to spend and manage our money wisely. Tape Aids for the Blind, a national library service for the blind and print handicapped, National Director Mrs Elza-Lynne Kruger shared with the audience the power of Braille, which is a tactile writing system used by people who are blind or visually impaired. She also spoke about the vast library of recoded books her organisation had and stressed that many dyslexic people could also benefit from all these recordings.
The stage was graced by musicians such as Bheki Khoza, Gogo Mabhengu, Ildo Nandja, and Miss Classic Bongiwe Msomi. Schools and other community groups such as Amaciko UKZN Poetry Group, Umlilo Cultural group from Umgababa, Uthando lukababa girl’s isicathamiya group from Umlazi Township and UGU District Poetry Students also entertained audiences. There were five schools in attendance which included Uminathi Christian College from Hammersdale, Umlazi Junior Primary from Umlazi, Martha Beyers School from Nongoma, Fredville Primary School from Inchanga, Catoridge and KwaVulindlebe School for the deaf from Marianhill.
Dr Gcina Mhlophe and Bheki Khoza officially launched a CD entitled Imilolozelo which has 18 tracks full of the wonderful sounds of traditional Rhymes and Rhythms in isiZulu that children learnt from a very early age. This is nostalgic cd to take you back to a time when grandparents helped the young ones (abazukulu) to gain confidence and know the importance of the natural environment. This CD is for the young to learn and the old to remember.
IsiZulu teacher, Mr Mtolo from Fredville Primary School emphasised very strongly that the main message that resonated throughout the day was for each and every one to be proud of our indigenous languages.