Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Speaker notes for the MEC for Sport , Arts and Culture Ms Desery Fienies at the launch of the first children’s book to be published in the N!UU Language in Upington on the 24 May 2021 at the Piet Thole Community Hall @ 11h00

Programme Director : Ms Marianna Beukes
Executive Mayor of ZFM District Municipality Cllr Mgcera
Executive Mayor of the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality Cllr Segede
Ms Nokuthula from the National Libraries of South Africa
Mr, Boichoko Moremi from PANSALB
Ms Lorato Trok from Puku Children’s Literature  Foundation
Mr. Stanley Grootboom
Ms Diana Ferus
Ouma Katriena our Living Legend
Officials from DSAC
Members of the Media

Good Morning , Goeie More , Dumelang , Moleweni

Let me start by apologizing for the Premier of the Northern Cape Dr Zamani Saul, who could not join us today. The Premier has received a copy of the book and he is very pleased and excited with the book.

Programme Director, allow me firstly to congratulate Ouma Katriena and all those who contributed to this book and for a job well done.

Let us give her a round of applause for this magnificent achievement

Ouma Katriena, we are proud to say, you contributed significantly to a book that will go a long way in the promotion and preservation of the N!UU Language. This book will be giving us valuable insight on the importance of our indigenous languages. It is a fitting tribute to mark the historic milestone which we have achieved.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are gathered here this morning to celebrate the publishing of a story in the N!UU language that will play a fundamental role in the development of our people. This morning is a practical definition of what Africa Month means and has set out to achieve.

Considering who we are and where we are, we cannot help but celebrate that we are in the company of some of the greatest contemporary minds in Africa today. This is a special morning.

I mention this because this conversation and discourse is a significant milestone in our struggle for self-determination. In fact, none but ourselves should define what it means to be an African in the world today.

It is a conversation and intellectual engagement that helps to define our identity and determine our own future. We are who we say we are and not what others think. We are Africa!

The centrality of the launch of this book becomes relevant and more important because it is here in Rosedale, where Ouma Katriena and her team is rooted in the community to promote and preserve the N!UU language. Ouma Katriena is grappling with various challenges , but I believe  this is part of the struggle for achieving milestones , such as the translation of a children’s book.

We are also still confronted by challenges of national identity and unity. We are still confronted by problems of prejudice and stereotypes, including racism, Afrophobia and sexism.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is our creative intellectuals, and more specifically our poets, writers and intellectuals who must lead the redefinition and regeneration of our indigenous languages and government and as government we must support and where possible provide you with the necessary resources to achieve this. I believe we all have a common goal of promoting and preserving our indigenous languages. It is the time for the advancement of the N!UU language to be taken to the next level.

It is for this reason that we have Africa Month – A Festival of Ideas & Cultural Exchange.

Ladies and Gentlemen

What brings us together today are efforts to tell our own stories and write our own stories in our own language.

In fact, the launch of this book is part of a slow but sure effort to promote, preserve and develop indigenous languages in our Province. Those of us who live and stand here today , especially  at this event, are the heirs of all that has been done to tell our own story and write our own history as we know it.

Today is a small but giant leap in our journey to tell the story of how we have struggled to improve ourselves, our country and, as a result, the whole world. It is a journey, about preserving the heritage of our ancestors, and forebears.

We are truly blessed today to be among the scholars, writers, intellectuals, researchers, story tellers, publishers , academics and thinkers who have taken it upon themselves to write eloquently and express themselves articulately in the N!UU language that will provide guidance to future generations.

I believe this book will give them some hope and self-love and restore peace of mind. It marks the beginning of self-knowledge and understanding that are the beginning of wisdom.

It is only when you know who you are and where you come from that you can move into the future with confidence.

This book is beginning to provide us with the staggering wealth of ideas and ideals that have come down from our history. It is a book that provides an instinctive link between the past, present and future.

The purpose of this book is to satisfy the urgent need to preserve and promote our indigenous languages and more specifically the N!UU language.

It has indeed, been a long walk for the freedom, preservation and promotion of a language that is becoming extinct.

This book will help meet the need for self-knowledge and self-understanding that has seen so many of our children and youth look outside their own heritage for these attributes

Through the launch of this very important book, we are beginning to look at ourselves through our own eyes and not those of colonialists who have oppressed and suppressed such a beautiful language

To us in the Department of Sport , Arts and Culture, this book is an important contribution to our ongoing work of crafting a new and inclusive narrative of where we come from as a nation.

Equally this book will strengthen our ongoing work of recording our nation’s heritage, in particular our languages

The preservation and promotion of our heritage is at the centre of the work we are doing as a Department, including to promote social cohesion, nation building and national healing.

It is also part of our work to tell our own stories, from our own perspective as Africans, reflecting on our common history and heritage and our shared destiny.

Programme Director, we will continue to partner with all those who can assist as we write an inclusive history of our country; that speaks to our common heritage and our shared values.

Let us continue to tell our own stories. Let us document them. Let us preserve and promote our heritage.

We must do all of this so that we do not forget where we come from; we do not repeat mistakes of the past and so that current and future generations can draw lessons and inspiration from the road we have travelled.

Ladies and Gentlemen we are doing all of these things inspired, among others, by the words of the founding father of our democratic nation; Tata Nelson Mandela, who once wrote;
“Without language one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.”

Let us continue to preserve and develop our languages because it is only through our languages that we can reach out to one another and embrace each other’s diversity.

I thank you.

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