Minister Anroux Marais' speech at launch of isiXhosa Cricket Rule Book
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
ISIXHOSA CRICKET RULEBOOK LAUNCH
31 AUGUST 2018
I am absolutely delighted and proud to address you at this very important launch of the world’s very first isiXhosa Cricket Rulebook at the renowned Newlands Cricket Stadium today.
At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport we are committed to promoting sport as a vehicle for the reconciliation and development of the Western Cape community through the provision of equitable and accessible sport programmes and services. To increase access and participation in sport in the Western Cape, together with our professional linguistic partners and expert code stakeholders, we collaboratively engaged on translating code-specific material to facilitate learning, understanding and mastering various sport codes, which before was only available in either English or Afrikaans.
The very first isiXhosa chess book was launched in July 2015. After months of deliberation and receiving the required approvals from linguistic authorities, we are proud to jointly launch the world’s first isiXhosa Cricket Rulebook here today.
Our department is, amongst many other things, mandated to promote sport in the province. It remains a challenge to promote particular sport codes in the vulnerable townships and rural areas, especially in previously disadvantaged communities due to inadequate infrastructure. This environment is a result of the political history of the country that favoured certain groups and suppressed others. Before, vulnerable communities did not have adequate infrastructure for certain sport codes and therefore was not exposed to particular codes, such as chess, golf and cricket to name a few. For meaningful social inclusivity to thrive, the gap had to be reduced and eventually closed.
It became the duty of the Department to equally and fairly promote all the sport codes to all the citizens of the Province, including poor communities with no adequate infrastructure. It then also became paramount that the Department determined strategies to introduce and promote all the sport codes to all the areas of the Province. We had to find ways of introducing these codes to areas where they were not popular or prevalent before. The issue of access was identified as the major challenge more than anything else, such as infrastructure. I have witnessed first-hand how communities can always find one way or another to play any sport code at their disposal despite the lack of infrastructure. Therefore, introducing and exposing communities to unpopular sport codes in their areas became a strategic objective which required a whole of society approach.
In promoting the rarest codes to vulnerable areas, language was cited as the major tool to facilitate the programme. It has long been reported by prominent linguistics scholars and many other influential icons, including Madiba, that people feel more comfortable in learning in a language they best understand. Manuals and rules of almost all the sports codes played in South Africa are in the languages of the minority, English and Afrikaans. Very little sport literature is known to have been published in any of the African languages spoken by the majority of the country. Translating the existing manuals became the department’s first port of call and we then prioritised the publishing of this book so that all language communities can find it easy to learn the code of cricket.
This project personifies how we are better together as our Chief Director for Sports and Recreation, Dr Lyndon Bouah called a meeting with the departmental language services component and introduced the project to the team. A need for formal editing and coining of new terminology for the book then surfaced and the project was then handed over to the language component. An experienced isiXhosa language specialist, Mr Xolisa Tshongolo, was tasked to manage the language part of the book.
Mr Xolisa Tshongolo, who is also a professional isiXhosa publishing author, called several meetings with the experts in the field to discuss the ins and outs of the game itself. These meetings helped to unpack the terminology issues in the book as this is the first isiXhosa cricket book known to be published. New terminology was coined in consultation with experts and a few isiXhosa academics who were willing to comment on the book. Although it took several months to finish editing the book as some sentence reconstruction had to take place as is in any editing exercise, the wait was certainly worth it because all good things, take time.
As this is the first book of its kind, it became clear that terminology used in the book would need some endorsement by a body of specialists in isiXhosa terminology development. The Western Cape Provincial Language Forum (WCPLF) was then used to verify and endorse the new isiXhosa terminology. The WCPLF accepted the verification task and further refined the terminology with the assistance of language practitioners who were also familiar with the game. For this we are eternally grateful.
The book was then finalised by the editor and sent to the Chief Directorate for Sports and Recreation for further development. The Directorate then appointed a service provider to design and layout the book. The book was then sent back to the editor in the language component for proofreading and after several language corrections were done the book was then signed off and printed and here we are.
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 very technical exercise for the isiXhosa language. It contributed towards development of the language as new terminology was coined in the process and therefore is a powerful tool to prove that isiXhosa, with efforts and resources, can be used in any and all domains. This project has indeed illustrated that when we work better together, we can accelerate our agenda for the promotion of multilingualism and access to sporting activities in the province. I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank all you had a hand in the successful publishing of this great book and I conclude with the words of our Tata Madiba who held both sport and culture in high esteem, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. Let us continue to live his legacy.
I thank you.