FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08 February 2022, PRETORIA
PANSALB IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SABC LAUNCHED LANGUAGE ACTIVISM MONTH AND THE STANDARDISED SOUTH AFRICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (SASL) NATIONAL ANTHEM
On 04 February 2022, at Ronnie Mamoepa press room, Government Communications, and Information Systems (GCIS), the Pan South African Language Board in conjunction with the SABC launched 28 days of language activism month and the standardized South African Sign Language version of the National Anthem.
The launch is in line with the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022–2032) commemoration as declared by UNESCO, ahead of the International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2022 under the theme “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”
Language Activism Month is observed annually in February to promote the use of mother tongue to elevate the status of indigenous languages to languages of access to education and socio-economic opportunities, while the South African Sign Language National Anthem was aimed at ensuring that there is a common way to sign the national anthem to advance social cohesion and accelerate the recognition of South African Sign Languages as an official language in the country.
The Board and the SABC have called on all South Africans to use the opportunity to learn South African Sign Language. Whilst the SASL National Anthem may be largely for the inclusion of the Deaf community in finding expression in the national identity, the public is encouraged to learn the National Anthem in South African Sign Language. PanSALB CEO, Lance Schultz has described this as a nation-building exercise “We view this as a potential contributor towards bridging the gap between the speech communities and the Deaf community. This can be achieved by the teaching of the national anthem in South African Sign Language in our schools and all sectors of society. Both the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and Department of Basic Education shall ensure that the National Anthem in Sign Language is communicated to every citizen and learner. Our aim is to strengthen the representation of the Deaf community in society to ensure the attainment of the founding provisions of the Constitution of achieving equality and the advancement of the linguistic human rights of all South African citizens”.
Various activities will be undertaken in various provinces throughout the month and will culminate in a two-day national celebration of the International Mother Language Day, 21 & 22 February 2022 scheduled to take place at the Premier Hotel ICC in East London, Eastern Cape.