1. Introduction to the Learnership

This Language Revitalization Programme deals with the preservation of indigenous knowledge in a postmodern, post-apartheid context taking into account the new face of colonialism, being that of globalization, and how information is passed down from generation to generation. It looks how marginalized and ostracized communities who suffered acts of cultural genocide, assimilation and acculturation under our previous political regimes, express themselves today as a means to engage in acts of reparation, healing and “regstellende aksies” to counter balance past injustices suffered. The process of turning the world into a global village is encouraging the use of English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and other European languages at the expense of indigenous languages.

This initiative attempts to elevate the status and advance the use of Khoekhoegowab (language of the Khoikhoi) which was previously used by people of the Western Cape and all over Southern Africa. Historically, the Khoekhoe had all the same language, which branches off in as many idioms and dialects as there are tribes… The Kai ǁKhau or ╪Auni or ǁHabobe or ǀKhowese of Great Namaqualand, and the ╪Nūbe of Ovamboland or the Kai ╪Nam of the North Western Kalahari had easy conversation with the inhabitants (Nama) of Khamies Bergen and the !Koras and Griquas of Griqualand West and Free State, as well as with the Khoikhoi of the Cape.

This is beyond mere conservation of things past but rather of sustaining reservoirs of knowledge, technology and beliefs which can prove useful to civilization in the present and the future.  Indigenous languages of the Southern Africa are not historical remnants standing in the way of the modernization and development of the groups which traditionally spoke them. Rather, these languages and the communities which speak them represent an accumulation of communal knowledge of how to interact with the Southern African environments in a sustainable fashion.

To echo the guiding principles of the Indigenous Language Institute, anyone with the concerns of the First Indigenous Aboriginal People at heart, should assist in the plight to “help create speakers” of endangered indigenous languages. In order to provide vital language related services to the Khoi khoi and San communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom and values are passed on to future generations in their original languages. This work is URGENT!!


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