'White South Africans learning an African language would show respect'

A video of a white man speaking TshiVenda fluently emerged on social media leaving a lot of people surprised by how fluent he was.

CapeTalk host Pippa Hudson, standing in for Kieno Kammies, says should we be shocked 20 years into democracy, that whites have made so little effort to speak African languages - when so many black people speak fluent English.

Senior lecturer in African languages at UCT's School of Languages and Literature, Dr Tessa Dowling says people still get surprised by how she speaks isiXhosa fluently.

She believes it would make a huge difference if white people in South Africa would make an effort to learn more African languages.

Read: Promotion of African languages in WC schools will help 'social cohesion'

I think that would show respect. It would make our knowledge system greater because the knowledge embedded in African languages is just not revealed.

Dr Tessa Dowling, Senior lecturer at UCT's School of Languages and Literature

The creativity and the humour in the language sometimes just blow me away and I think if people learn those languages they would find in themselves different personalities.

Dr Tessa Dowling, Senior lecturer at UCT's School of Languages and Literature

Dowling says by learning other languages people could help stave off dementia.

Research has also shown that if you learn another language you are less likely to get dementia.

Dr Tessa Dowling, Senior lecturer at UCT's School of Languages and Literature

To hear the rest of the interview with Dr Dowling, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'White South Africans learning an African language would show respect'


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