FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26 SEPTEMBER 2023, PRETORIA
AFRICAN LANGUAGES ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (ALASA)’S 24TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE KICKS OFF TODAY, 26-29 SEPTEMBER 2023
Today, the African Language Association of Southern Africa International Conference (ALASA) will kickstart at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre, Boksburg, Gauteng. The conference is hosted by the Tshwane University of Technology and conducted in partnership with the Pan South African Language Board, the conference aims to promote research in indigenous African languages and explore innovative ideas to advance their development. The theme for this year’s conference is “Beyond the intellectualization of African languages for awakening potential in Africa”.
During Heritage Month (September), the annual language conference provides a platform for intergenerational experts in various language fields from all over the world to exchange ideas, identify issues that subvert the development of African languages, and find innovative ways to tackle them. The conference fosters critical scholarship, academic exchange, and collaborations necessary for the development of African indigenous languages and their role in society. Dr Elias Malete, the ALASA Chairperson, believes that the association’s continued investment in advancing the discourse on the development of African languages will dispel the notion that they have no place in an increasingly hegemonic and globalized society.
PanSALB Board Chairperson, Prof Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst, stated that PanSALB is committed to advocating for African languages and creating a space for them in all sectors of society. PanSALB CEO, Mr Lance Schultz, stressed the need for a social compact between government, business, and civil society to elevate the status of African languages and effectively advance the founding provisions of the Constitution.
The conference draws around 250 scholars, academics, language practitioners, and language managers mainly from Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe). It provides an opportunity to advertise and share services on teaching, learning, and research achievements with colleagues from the region and continent alike.
Released on behalf of PanSALB: Ntombentle Huluhulu
Head: Marketing and Communication
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The African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA) is a non-profit association established in 1979 aimed at promoting interaction between researchers, language practitioners, students, educators and lecturers of African Languages and Literature. It also assists in the promotion of research, language development, and effective verbal and written communication in a multilingual society.
PanSALB is a Constitutional body established in terms of the Pan South African Language Board Act 59 of 1995 as amended to promote and create conditions for the development and use of all official languages including the Khoe and San languages.
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) prides itself as a public university which offers many South African indigenous languages at first (home) language level. The six languages offered are as follows: Setswana, Sepedi, isiZulu, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, and Afrikaans. These languages six languages and French are also offered to non-home language speakers. In recognising that people who communicate in sign language need to be included in mainstream society, South African Sign Language (SASL) was recently introduced and it is offered at the introductory level to third-year Language Practice students.