Minister Marais celebrates International Mother Language Day | Western Cape Government


Minister Marais celebrates International Mother Language Day

22 February 2021

Annually on 21 February we commemorate International Mother Language Day and in celebration, Minister Anroux Marais delivered the welcoming address at the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) and partners virtual conference held on Saturday.

On Monday, Minister Marais will also launch the first of its kind Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport isiXhosa Netball Rulebook.

In celebration of International Mother Language Day this year, the PANSALB in partnership with Iziko Museums, The University of the Western Cape, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Swahili Language Board of Southern Africa, the National Library of South Africa’s Centre for the Book, Supusupu Khoi languages, Afrikaanse Taalraad, Western Cape Language Committee and the Indigenous Languages Actions Forum hosted an online conference for a series of virtual performances, discussions and debates on the safeguarding of linguistic diversity and multilingualism. 

During the welcoming remarks, Minister Marais said, “Often, we underestimate the importance of affording the space for self- improvement in one’s mother tongue and today we officially acknowledge this by engaging on language issues, particularly: Safeguarding Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism. This engagement indeed shows in real terms that together we are committed to empowering all who calls the Western Cape and greater South Africa home by exploring our national identity through linguistic practices. 

In a similar way to knowledge being power, I also hold that, language is power. As recently experienced in our provincial response to COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdown regulations, the powerful agency of language is an essential necessity because communication is key to understanding, tolerance and acceptance. It is therefore important for us as stakeholders to facilitate communicative processes and platforms of this nature in which all we serve feels a sense of belonging, regardless of mother tongue or linguistic differences. In this way, we together work towards our vision of a socially inclusive, active and connected Western Cape”.

The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport remains committed to ensuring equal treatment of the provincial official languages and in promoting previously marginalised languages, including South African Sign Language.  Our Department has made significant strides to create an enabling environment in which linguistic democracy can flourish in the province and look forward to further engaging on how to improve this priority.

Media Enquiries: 

Stacy McLean
Spokesperson for Anroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
083 504 1171