Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, Dean and Head of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) School of Arts, has been elected as the new Chairperson for Universities South Africa’s (USAf) Community of Practice for the Teaching and Learning of African Languages (CoPAL).
Chosen at a recent CoPAL meeting at Stellenbosch University, Hlongwa believes that integrating African languages into science and academia demands a radical transformation of their role. If not used, these languages will remain marginalized.
In 2022, an audit was conducted across South Africa’s 26 public universities to assess resources and infrastructure supporting the implementation of the Language Policy Framework. Hlongwa anticipates a comprehensive overview of university efforts, available resources, and priorities.
Prof. Hlongwa also calls for an independent audit of the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) to evaluate the available African language resources within its mandate and how they can be shared system-wide.
Successful language implementation relies on sharing existing resources and knowledge. Understanding available resources is crucial for effective use. Hlongwa emphasizes collaboration and partnerships as the way forward, rather than reinventing the wheel each time.