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28 February 2024 | Story ANTHONY MTHEMBU | Photo Anthony Mthembu
Tlotlisang Mhlambiso’s Literary Debut Promotes IsiXhosa Heritage
Tlotlisang Mhlambiso, with three student participants awarded copies of the anthology.

The University of the Free State Library and Information Services (UFS LIS), in collaboration with the UFS African Languages Press (UFSALP) and the Charmza Literary Club, recently hosted a significant book launch event. This gathering celebrated the debut anthology titled “Phind’ubhale: Imibongo YesiXhosa” by Tlotlisang Mhlambiso, a student at the UFS. The event, held on 24 February 2024 at the Assemblies of God church in Bloemfontein, attracted a diverse audience, including educators and students from local schools such as Ihobe Primary School, Vulamasango Secondary School and Nozala Intermediate School.

About the anthology

Mhlambiso’s anthology comprises nearly 60 poems, all composed in IsiXhosa, his native language. Exploring themes ranging from mental health and love to faith and navigating life’s challenges, Mhlambiso underscores the significance of writing in indigenous languages, considering it an integral part of cultural heritage. He aims not only to promote IsiXhosa but also to inspire and empower young readers.

Appropriately released during the International Mother Language Day celebrations on 21 February 2024, the anthology launch aligns with the mission of UFS LIS and UFSALP to foster a culture of reading among learners and encourage recreational reading in IsiXhosa.

The launch event

During the event, Mhlambiso engaged with the audience, particularly the learners, who had the opportunity to recite excerpts from the anthology. Mhlambiso himself recited one of his favourite poems from the book, titled “Phind’ubhale.” Outstanding student participants were rewarded with copies of the anthology as part of an initiative aimed at promoting literacy and motivation among young learners.

Commenting on the event, Vuyisile Mpinga, Principal of Nozala Intermediate School, expressed gratitude, noting the positive impact such initiatives have on learner motivation and achievement.

Mhlambiso’s future endeavours

Despite his notable literary achievements, Mhlambiso remains committed to furthering the cause of indigenous languages. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education Honours in Curriculum Studies, with a specialisation in Languages, he intends to advocate for the importance of indigenous languages in schools across the country.  

Book Launch

Tlotlisang Mhlambiso with educators from the schools invited to the launch.  

News Archive

UFS Sign Language expert appointed to a national government committee
2010-05-13

Photo: Mangaliso Radebe


The National Department of Basic Education has appointed the Head of the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice at the University of the Free State (UFS), Mr Philemon Akach, to serve in its Curriculum Management Team.

“It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been appointed as a member of the Curriculum Management Team to manage the development of Sign Language as a subject to be listed in the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12,” the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, wrote in her letter to Mr Akach.

“I am excited, after mulling over this, saying that maybe this time around it may just work because, from experience, I can sensitise the other committee members on how to build in an implementation strategy right from the beginning,” said Mr Akach.

“Over the last 12 years we have implemented the proposed part of the curriculum for tertiary institutions at this university, so our input will be a practical one. We have not only theoretically proven it can be done but have developed multimedia teaching materials as a legacy to sustain the course as a permanent feature at this level. I will share this with the management to implement what is already working.”

He was a Director of Sign Language and Interpreting Development with the Deaf Federation of South Africa for three years (1996-1998). During that time he directed the development of the South African Sign Language (SASL) curriculum as a school subject from Grades 0-12, as well as SASL as a second language, and a proposal to tertiary institutions on what they should take note of, should they considered introducing SASL as an academic course. All of these were handed over to the Department of Education in 1997.

“Committees are a good tool to write proposals but if there is no policing of the implementation, not much seems to work,” he said.

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
12 May 2010
 

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