The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport launched the Xhosa Netball rulebook on 22 February 2021. The launch of the rulebook coincided with the celebration of International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2021. The launch took place at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town and was attended by various role-players in the netball industry.
Chief Director of Cultural Affairs, Mr Guy Redman, explained the significance of the launch of the rulebook being translated into another language and how this achievement contributed towards the department’s vision of social inclusion. “The launch of this book means that throughout the many communities of South Africa, there is now a natural way in which people can participate in the sport, without having to think in a different language…so today, to DCAS, this is a major victory. It is a victory in our commitment to being inclusive and delivering on inclusivity” he said.
Chief Director of Sport and Recreation, Dr Lyndon Bouah, said that the launch of the isiXhosa rulebook played a vital role in making netball accessible to the masses of people in South Africa, and that the launch of the rulebook speaks to the transformation and ensuring that citizens have access to information. “I look forward to one day when netball umpires and officials will be able to write their exams in isiXhosa. In doing that we will empower people to become officials at the highest levels of the sport” said Dr Bouah.
President of Western Cape and Cape Winelands Netball Federation, Bennie Saayman said that the launch was a great moment in Netball and thanked DCAS for the effort they put into finalising the isiXhosa rulebook. “This is an historical event, as it is the first ever translation of the Netball rules in an African language. At last, a lot of our athletes will be able to compete in netball in their own language.”
Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais said that the Western Cape is committed to promoting sport as a vehicle for the reconciliation and development of the Western Cape and thanked the various role-players who worked together to bring this vision to fruition, including the Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC). “Not only has this process shown in real terms what can be achieved if we all work together for a greater cause, it was also a progressive technical exercise for the isiXhosa language. It contributed towards the development of the language as new terminology was coined in the process and therefore is powerful in proving that isiXhosa, with efforts and resources, can be used in any and all domains. This project has indeed illustrated that when we collaboratively work together, we can accelerate our agenda for the promotion of multilingualism and access to sporting activities in the province’ said Minister Marais.
The launch of the book is also seen as a build-up exercise to the 2023 Netball World Cup, which is will be hosted by Cape Town and is a first for the African continent.