Malumalele Burning: Language Rights in South African Courtrooms


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Thursday, October 15, 2015 – 4:30pm

Dr. Russell H. Kaschula: NRF SARChI Chair in the Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and Education, School of Languages-African Language Studies, Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa

Location: Williams-Brice Building, Room 125

This talk will focus on section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Although the section seems to entrench the language rights of individuals, including requests that court trials could be held in their native language, this is not the case. This talk will argue that although language rights are in the Constitution, they have not been enforced. The State provides court interpreters for all eleven official languages, but the western cultural paradigm prevails, leaving very little space for intercultural communication in the courts. English remains the language of record and court interpreters face several challenges. The protests at Malumalele serve as a backdrop for these linguistic battles.

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