Book publishing in indigenous languages in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities
Major publishers in many parts of Africa are conspicuous by their reluctance to publish in indigenous African languages. Many of these publishers cite lack of readership in indigenous languages as a reason for this move which is frustrating efforts at indigenisation and domestication and increase dependency on foreign languages, notably English. This article explores book publishing in indigenous languages in South Africa and exemplifies
pertinent issues inherent in the multilingual country where English has remained a dominant discourse at the expense of indigenous languages which have largely remained under utilised as media of instruction and public discourse. It is argued in this article that this under utilisation impacts directly on book publishing in indigenous languages as it leads to a shrinking market for publishers. It is posited further that, since language is a key feature of culture which also enables access to indigenous wisdom especially in the context of Africa, it can be concluded that the cultural legacy of many indigenous African communities is under threat.
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, discourse, book publishing.