South Africa: Celebrating SA's Literacy Classics On Heritage Day

23 September 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday lead the nation in celebrating the rich array of cultural communities and assets, natural wonders and religious communities that constitute South Africa's diversity.

The 2019 National Heritage Day celebrations will be hosted by the Northern Cape province in Upington under the theme 'Celebrating South Africa's literacy classics in the year of indigenous languages'.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Twenty-five years after South Africa's transition to democracy, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution guarantees freedom of linguistic, cultural and religious association as part of promoting and maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.

The President will on the morning of the National Heritage Day celebrations officially open the Sandile Present Community Library ahead of addressing the nation at the Mxolisi Jacobs Stadium.

At the Sandile Present Community Library, the President's Reading Circle, which encourages all citizens to become enthusiastic readers, will host a session in which President Ramaphosa and learners will read in an indigenous language.

This session will be led by Katrina Esau, affectionately known as Ouma Geelmeid, a recipient of the 2014 National Order Baobab in Silver for her work in heritage preservation.

This activity is primarily aimed at showcasing and appreciating South Africa's rich literary heritage, which must be preserved and sustained for generations to come.

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has since the beginning of September collaborated with the National Library of South Africa and the Publishers Association of South Africa to produce a volume of works written in African languages entitled 'Writing in Nine Tongues: A catalogue of Literature and Readers in Nine African Languages for South Africa'.

The catalogue showcases more than 4 000 titles in nine African languages, namely isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga -- written in different genres.

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