Language Board CEO challenges school for discrimination


By Gabi Khumalo

Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) Chief Executive Officer, Ntombenhle Nkosi, is to appear before Durban?s Equality Court to challenge the Durban High School for discriminating against her son?s language.

Last year in October, Ms Nkosi lodged a complaint to the Equality Court on behalf of her son against the school and its governing body for teaching her son sub-standard IsiZulu.

Ms Nkosi argued that her son, whose mother tongue is IsiZulu, was being discriminated against by the school by being taught his language as a second additional language or third level IsiZulu, which should be offered to non-IsiZulu speakers.

"This is happening whereas the school is able to offer English and Afrikaans at higher and correct level according to the Department of Education?s National Curriculum Statement on languages,' complained Ms Nkosi.

PanSALB spokesperson, Sibusiso Nkosi said the organisation perceived the case as being of national importance since it is aimed to address the lack of transformation by most former model C schools to alleviate the status of indigenous languages.

"We at PanSALB are of the view that the prevalent situation in these former Model C schools in which African children are made to leave their African languages at the gates of learning will not continue unnoticed.

"Both public and private schools have to create an environment in which our children are made to feel comfortable for who they are, in terms of their languages and their cultures,' he said.

He further said that as a democratic country premised on a progressive constitution, which promotes linguistic diversity, it is wrong to let other citizens to be cheer leaders, when others enjoy their freedoms.

"A decade into our constitutional democracy, we have to constantly and collectively create a cultural space that is South African, we must take and give from each other on the basis of equality, otherwise certain languages will remain dominant and privileged,' warned Mr Nkosi.

He added that he hope that the outcome of the case will advance constitutionally guaranteed language rights by giving parents and learners the option of exercising their language preference and influencing language policies.

PanSALB is a statutory body established to create conditions to develop and promote equal use and enjoyment of all 11 official South African languages.

The organisation actively promotes an awareness of multilingualism as a national resource.

- BuaNews