Revitalising and preserving endangered indigenous languages in South Africa through writing and publishing

  • Patrick Ngulube University of South Africa
Keywords: Culture, indigenous languages, Khoe-san languages, publishing, South Africa


Libraries and librarians play a central role in organising and communicating knowledge. They are an important part of theknowledge production and use chain. The development and sustenance of a knowledge-based economy hinges on theirability to facilitate the accessibility, retrievability and usability of the knowledge and information that permeates theinformation society. Writers and publishers as part and parcel of the knowledge chain are central to the production anddistribution of ideas. Language is fundamental to their ability to communicate and get their literal messages, expressionsand ideas through. Their preferred language of writing and publishing may mean a difference between the growth anddemise of a language of a society and its culture and civilisation. Many indigenous languages around the globe arestruggling to survive because of various reasons including neglect by writers and publishers. Publishers and writers as majorrole players in the knowledge production and reproduction chain may assist in promoting and preserving indigenouslanguages in general and in South Africa in particular. This may ensure that South Africas knowledge economy developswithout sidelining or discriminating against any culture or language. There are challenges and opportunities that writersand publishers are likely to face in attempting to revitalise and empower indigenous languages in South Africa, but theyare not insurmountable. Using a theoretical approach, the purpose of this article is to highlight the role that writers andpublishers may play in revitalising and preserving endangered indigenous languages in South Africa. Recommendations aremade on how the role players may deal with the challenges that have culminated in the neglect of the endangeredindigenous languages.
Research Articles