UKZN Co-hosts Symposium on Multilingualism
UKZN and the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted their first webinar mini-symposium on 22 June titled Multilingualism in practice. This ground breaking initiative was the first time that the two institutions partnered on language matters.
The symposium was officially opened by UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca and Dr Engela Van Staden, UFS’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic. Songca welcomed participants and reaffirmed UKZN’s commitment to operationalising the South African constitutional imperative of developing indigenous languages by endorsing functional bilingualism and the intellectualisation of isiZulu. Van Staden highlighted UFS’s milestones and affirmed the university’s commitment to develop the previously marginalised languages of the Free State, particularly Sesotho and isiZulu.
Both universities presented their lived experiences in navigating this journey. Dr Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst, Acting Director in the University Language Planning and Development Office, presented the UKZN Language Policy and Plan. She highlighted the University’s wide-ranging initiatives to intellectualise isiZulu thus far.
Dr Elias Malete of UFS focused on African languages as part of multilingualism and traced the links between these languages and the constitution’s endorsement of multilingualism. Malete also emphasised the importance of sharing experiences and knowledge. Presentations were also made by Dr Peet Van Aardt from UFS and Mr Njabulo Manyoni and Mrs Tholakele Zungu from UKZN.
The webinar concluded with a question and answer session, and comments from participants. It was agreed that there are synergies between the work being undertaken by UFS and UKZN and that future collaboration will be fruitful.