Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

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The stuttering implementation of language policies in the South African education system

EM Mncwango


The current status of indigenous African languages in South Africa has caught the attention of language experts, academics and the general public. The main focus of this article is on the role which schools can play to promote and develop indigenous African languages. Schools are viewed as a fertile ground where second languages can be grounded, particularly urban schools which are multiracial, with learners from different linguistic backgrounds. The article observes that while the South African government is committed to promoting and developing indigenous African languages, the implementation of its sound policies on education is lacking. The Language-in-Education Policy (2004) is cited as an ideal, the goals of which, once achieved, could mean massive progress. The article decries the lack of commitment on the part of native speakers of indigenous African languages, in some instances, to invest in their languages, as a retrogressive step in the promotion and development of these languages.

Keywords: Language policy, African languages, multilingualism, indigenous African languages, South Africa

AJOL African Journals Online