Over the last few years, the Department of African Languages has been distributing African language dictionaries to schools. Thus far, with sponsorship assistance from the African Association for Lexicography (Afrilex), the Department has distributed dictionaries in Sepedi, Setswana and isiNdebele. Afrilex promotes research, teaching and studying lexicography in South Africa.
In addition to distributing dictionaries, the Department's staff host workshops at the schools and teach learners how to use a dictionary, as well as the importance of using a dictionary. In this way, learners are assisted to become proactive in overcoming language barriers at school.
The latest dictionary distribution and workshop was held at Stanza Bopape Secondary School in Mamelodi West. Under the leadership of Prof Mpume Zondi and isiZulu lecturers, Mrs Brenda Nomadlozi Bokaba and Ms Lungile Mncwango, learners were empowered with dictionary skills that would not only boost their vocabularies and encourage reading, but would also assist in second language English learning.
Stanza Bopape Secondary School principal, Mr Bethuel Mmalele and his teachers, Ms Beauchamp, Ms Manabile and isiZulu teacher, Ms Simelane, warmly welcomed the Department to the school and were very appreciative to the University of Pretoria for including their school in the dictionary drive.
One of the learners gave a touching word of thanks, on behalf of the learners, to UP and the staff of the Department of African Languages and said, 'Njengoba nisilethele lezi zichazamazwi niyasifundisa nathi ukuthi ukuthi nathi sisize abanye' (literally translated as: 'Since you have given us these dictionaries, you are opening avenues for us to also assist others').