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Nomalanga Mkhize: “The Dept of Education is Very Bureaucratic in Its Approach to Black Children’s Education”

The Fate of the Eastern CapeDr Nomalanga Mkhize, history lecturer at Rhodes University and contributor to The Fate of the Eastern Cape: History, Politics and Social Policy, recently spoke on Power FM about the problem with the quality of children’s and adult literature in African languages.

Mkhize, who has written numerous children’s stories published in newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal, says that it is very difficult to get published in African languages in South Africa.

When it comes to reading material taught in public schools at foundation phase level, Mkhize says: “The Department of Education is very bureaucratic in its approach to black children’s education, they don’t think innovatively or out of the box.

“The kind of stuff that the Department of Education give to black kids, no one who is middle class and sends their kid to a model C school or private school would expect their children to read that kind of rubbish in English.”

Mkhize continues: “It’s shocking how much of the materials that are produced in African languages are not written by African-language speakers, particularly in the children’s market.”

She says there’s nothing wrong with translation of English texts to indigenous languages, but it is important to build up an organic reading culture in children’s home languages.

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