STARTING in 2020, South African learners will have the option to take up Kiswahili as an optional second additional language.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga made the announcement at a media briefing on Monday.
The announcement follows a meeting by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) held in Pretoria last week Thursday. At the meeting, the CEM approved the listing of Kiswahili as a language that will be offered to learners.
There are currently 15 non-official languages listed in the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) as optional subjects including the likes of French, German and Mandarin.
“There is unfortunately no African language in the list of languages. The origin of all these languages is outside the continent, except for Arabic, the Afro-Asiatic language family, which is spoken by North African Arabic countries. This continues to perpetuate colonial mentality and necessitated us to take action and rectify this,” said the minister.
Motshekga said the introduction of Kiswahili in South African schools will help to promote social cohesion among Africans.
Kiswahili is a Bantu language with lexical and linguistic similarities with many African languages spoken on the continent.
It is the third most spoken language, with more than 100 million speakers in Africa after English and Arabic.