Publication of books in indigenous South African languages and their availability and use in public libraries

G.H. Fredericks, Z. Mvunelo


This paper presents the findings of a study conducted to investigate the impact of the adoption of the eleven official
languages and related democratic policies on the production of books in indigenous languages as well as the role of public
libraries in promoting the use of books written in indigenous languages. The study reveals that. despite the provisions of
the New Constitution regarding language. it seems that the publishing houses have not made much effort to reduce the
predominant status traditionally enjoyed by Afrikaans and English in the South African publishing industry.
The findings also show that most libraries have collections published mainly in English and Afrikaans. In addition. it was
found that books in indigenous languages made up less than 1% of the collections of most of the responding libraries. The
results of this study portray a poor state of publishing in indigenous South African languages. It is recommended that every
effort should be made to promote the use of these languages more widely and government support be solicited.

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