Xhosa dictionary sees the light
Komani author Professor Menzi Duka has compiled a Xhosa dictionary,
Duka said the Shuter and Shooter publishing company approached him to compile the dictionary.
He said the relevant academic expertise and knowledge were necessary in producing reference materials.
“I have a BA honours from Fort Hare, a masters of arts from Unisa and a doctorate in literature and philosophy from Rhodes University.”
He said the existing version of the English-Xhosa dictionary had remained for a long time as the British had introduced an education removed from an African context, but the period of African renaissance, led by former president Thabo Mbeki and former Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Abasanjo, had encouraged a renewal in indigenous languages.
“This had a great impact on me. My book, titled
was written at that time and one of the debates was about having an Xhosa dictionary.”
He said Africans were starting to embrace their languages with a “flood of songs” in indigenous languages. The use of indigenous languages was crucial to development and pupils should be developed in their home languages before they learnt other languages.
“I love English literature and I have also written books in English, but when we use it to communicate, many South Africans become marginalised and are left behind in development.
“Statistics reveal that more than 60% of the Eastern Cape is rural which is the case with most South African provinces.”
Duka said the role of the educated was to pass on knowledge and skills in order to bring about upliftment.
“I have been writing since
1963 when I started contributing to a students’ magazine at the age of 15. This encouraged me to develop my writing skills.”
For more information about the dictionary, contact Duka on
Professor Menzi Duka