Western Cape Mourns the Death of Language Pioneer
Media Statement by Dr Ivan Meyer, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
It is with great sadness that just as South Africa is finally about to finalise the South African Language Users Act, we learn of the death of Dr Neville Alexander. Dr Alexander will be remembered for his pioneering work in the field of language policy and planning in South Africa. He was influential in respect of language policy development with various government departments, including education.
Neville Alexander was a member of the Western Cape Language Committee since its inception in 1999 to 2005. He was one of the key members responsible for the conceptualisation and formulation of the Western Cape Language Policy, which was launched on International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2005. He was a specialist in the field of multilingualism and mother tongue education, and was one of the keynote speakers at the Conference on Multilingualism held on 20 February 2012.
In my personal discussion with him during this symposium, I was struck by his commitment to multilingualism in a diverse society. I will remember him as an independent and lateral thinker on language and cultural rights. He devoted more than 20 years of his professional life to defend and preserve multilingualism in South Africa and became one of the major advocates of linguistic diversity.
Neville Alexander will be sorely missed.