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A fight for fair treatment of isiNdebele by VUKO and AfriForum : by Xolisile Dlou

In a quest for the equal treatment of all South African languages, the Vulamehlo Kusile Organisation (VUKO) supported by AfriForum launched a petition campaign for the fair treatment of isiNdebele by the SABC.

Deputy Secretary of VUKO, Elias Mahlangu said that the Bill of Rights is violated by the SABC with regards to denying amaNdebele their inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected. Mahlangu added that as they are also Tax and TV license payers, they refuse to be treated like second rate citizens in their country of birth.

Head of Intercultural Cooperation at AfriForum, Barend Uys emphasized that communities must take responsibility to realise their civil rights. “These rights will not be realised without effort. To preserve and develop our languages, communities must organise themselves and work so that they can be self-efficient and able to create the future that they want for their children,” Uys said.

During an interview with Flare FM, Uys further explained that this petition is about the unfair treatment of isiNdebele by the SABC. “I think the main challenges is the time slot of the news, for instance it is the time where people are still in the road travelling back to their homes and the second thing is that the news itself, the content of the news do not actually include matters that occurs in the areas where most amaNdebele live,” he explained.

Previously various amaNdebele groups have been marching to the SABC to fight the unfair treatment of isiNdebele by the SABC, Uys further explained that this petition is different by the way it was launched and the way it is driven. “Ofcorse once you have the ability to drive a petition using technology like in this case, then if you approach the SABC you can really show your course,” he said.

Uys concluded by saying “I think the key here is that you got an amaNdebele organisation, they are standing up and taking the responsibilities for the future of isiNdebele and that is why AfriForum is so happy to support them because that’s the way we believe the future actually lies in communities, taking responsibilities for their own futures, for their own matters and develop a certain amount of self-reliance,” he added.

Mahlangu concluded by saying all amaNdebele must come together in order for this to be a success. “We call on all amaNdebele to come together and sign the petition to demand that all isiNdebele speakers are treated with dignity and on equal footing with the speakers of other official languages,” he added.

Click the link below to sign the petition which can be accessed in isiNdebele and English.