International Mother Language Day Celebrations

The international community has celebrated the International Mother
Language Day annually on the 21st February since 1999, when the
General Conference of the United Nations decided that the day should
be observed every year throughout the world in order to promote the
recognition and practice of mother tongues.
The Municipality, in partnership with the Provincial Department of
Arts and Culture and the Pan South African Languages Board, will host
celebrations on the International Mother Language Day on the 16 March

“The event aims at raising awareness about the importance of
languages, including those that are considered dominant, like English
to those that are used less frequently, some to the point that they
face extinction”, says Vusi Mshengu, who is the driving force behind
organising for the event.

In the past the Municipality had hosted the celebrations alone, but
this year has teamed up with the Provincial department and the Pan
South African Languages Board in order to have a bigger and a more
inclusive event and thus maximizing the impact. The celebration of
such an event to promote the recognition and practice of mother
tongues, especially the indigenous languages, which have borne the
brunt of marginalisation and underdevelopment thereby ensuring that
they continue to be used alongside major international languages.

EThekwini, with its diverse cultures thought it wise to celebrate this
event to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism. The
Municipality’s Language Policy implementation plan identifies language
awareness events like these as an effective tool through which it can
play a role in raising awareness of the value of South Africa’s
linguistic diversity as part of celebrating our heritage. Local
cultural and musical groups from different cultures will perform.

The event will be graced by the presence of the MEC for Arts and
Culture Ms Weziwe Thusi, MEC of Education, Mayor, Councillor Obed
Mlaba and the eThekwini Councillors. The event will take place as


DATE:    16 MARCH 2010

TIME:      09H30

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the event.

For more information contact Vusi Mshengu, Manager Translation in
Legal Unit on 0313113216 or e-mail on

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