First-ever San textbooks launched

26 Oct 2013 10:40am
GROOTFONTEIN, 26 OCT (NAMPA) - San learners in pre-primary and Grades 1 and 2 countrywide will as from January next year be able to use textbooks translated into their mother tongue.
Tsumkwe Constituency Councillor Francina Hishekwa-Ghauz on Thursday launched the seven different types of textbooks, as well as story books for pre-primary learners, at Grootfontein.
Hishekwa-Ghauz told Nampa in an interview at the launch that the mathematics textbooks for Grades 1 and 2 have been translated into Kwedan, one of the San vernaculars which is understood by almost all San people in Namibia.
“Three different types of story books for pre-primary have been translated into Taa-San, also a widely spoken language in our communities,” she said.
Hundreds of San learners from various primary schools in the Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa Regions gathered at the Omulunga Community Hall in Grootfontein on Thursday to witness the launch of the books.
Most of them were from the Ju//Hoansi San community in Tsumkwe East, the !Kung San from Tsumkwe West, the Taa-Naro from Corridor 13 in the Omaheke Region, the Khoe-San from the Kavango and Zambezi Regions, and the Hai//Om from the Kunene Region.
Hishekwa-Ghauz, who is San herself, said history was made in Namibia on Thursday, adding that the San learners will from now on be happy to be able to read, speak and write in their mother tongue at school.
“To speak, write and read in your mother tongue is amazing, and this should be encouraged in the country because for me mother tongue education helps children increase their intellectual development,” she said.
She said in the past, San-speaking Namibians were forced to learn other indigenous languages taught at schools in the country, a situation which will change as from 2014.
The Tsumkwe Constituency Councillor also encouraged Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country to fund projects aimed at translating textbooks to make it understandable for San learners, as well as producing new textbooks in the language.
She said by doing so, the enrolment of San children in schools will automatically increase and this will also help keep them in school until they can go on to institutions of higher learning.
The translation of the textbooks for Grade 1 and Grade 2 learners started in early 2012.
The project was sponsored by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the Finnish Embassy in Namibia and Terre des homes – an international charitable humanitarian federation.
The launching of the new textbooks was witnessed by Grootfontein Mayor Emma Taukuheke; donor agency representatives; San community representatives and Grootfontein Senior Secondary School Head of Department Frans Eigowab, who represented the Otjozondjupa Regional Education Directorate.