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Erased Indigenous Languages Programmes

Erased Indigenous Languages Programmes

Erased Indigenous Languages Program

The community-driven Khoekhoegowab teaching programme was initiated by A/Xarra with CAS in engaged community, traditional structures and civic structures over the past 3 years. It has since been operationalised through an implementation collaboration of A/Xarra and CAS with EMS since last year. In 2019, over 70 students received certification through EMS for the course; the majority of these students were community members who completed the course for free. 

In 2020, under Covid-19 conditions, this was the first online foundational certificated Khoekhoegowab course offered in higher education in South Africa, based on the CILT Lockdown blended teaching and learning model experience at UCT over the past 9 months. It has not been easy as the students come from the most deprived areas on the Cape Flats and there are immense challenges with resources in a 'social distancing' teaching context. The huge costs of data and technical support in a Covid-context are a significant challenge and we hope to attract more funding in this regard to sustain this important project for the community. 

Since the Programme has rolled out its third intake since last year June, we have already built up a considerable waiting list of interested applicants countrywide. A strong contingent of the participants are active community workers involved in democracy education projects, intergenerational indigenous trauma counselling, and in the creative arts as artists, teachers, musicians. The course has also attracted consistent interest from community leaders and activists, including members of the clergy and customary council members. 

One of the key issues that confronts transformation and decoloniality at UCT is multilingualism in African Languages which is now a legislative imperative through the new national Language Policy Framework Policy of 2020. Universities now have the task to develop capacities for marginalised African languages, including Khoi and San languages. This work is therefore of great significance the future. Foundational certification will remain important because that is where a language gets restored in the everyday over the long term. To develop beyond Foundational Khoekhoegowab, the Khoi and San Centre will explore and establish further teaching and learning partnerships with the Language Development Education colleagues at UCT, and colleagues in African Languages and Linguistics. 

For me information on this course or to also provide funding support, please contact: 

Snapshots of students completing the course 


Below: A/Xarra Youth Commission Chair, Robyn Humphreys, assisting with the administration of the Khoekhoegowab course at the Cape of Good Hope Castle during Covid-19.