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Phase 2 of the NLSA’s Reprints of South African Classics Series (Slideshow)


In 2009, South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the National Library, undertook the task of re-printing 27 key classic texts in indigenous South African languages. More recently, the 2nd phase of the project was launched, adding a further 19 previously out-of-print titles to the collection. The aim of the project is to help promote literacy in African languages and culture as well as endorse a culture of reading. Dr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, gave a keynote redress at the launch of the project at the National Library in Pretoria. Said Phaahla, “It is through literature that a people’s way of life, including norms and values, are chronicled and transferred from one generation to another”. The 19 reprints will include the works of OK Matsepe (author of Mahlatse a madimabe), DM Jongilanga (author of Apha Naphaya), DPS Monyaise (author of Bogosi kupe), LD Raditladi (author of Mokoma ditlhare).

Mahlatse a madimabeApha NaphayaBogosi kupeMokoma ditlhare

Some of the 27 titles that were launched in 2009 were Mulunguntima by TH Khosa (Xitsonga), Mafangambiti by TN Maumela (Tshivenda) Hawu babe! by GA Malindzisa (Siswati), Senkatana by SM Mofokeng (Setswana), Mehlolo ke dinoha by SP Lekeba (Sesotho), Lenong la gauta by HD Bopape (Sepedi), Inkinsela yaseMgungundlovu by Sibusiso Nyembezi (isiZulu), Buzani Kubawo by WK Tamsanqa (isiXhosa) and Iinkesi ezome kere by MS Mahlangu (Ndebele). Here is a slideshow of the titles, followed by the speech launching the second phase of the series:

Slideshow: 2nd phase of the SA classics series


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It is a great honour for me to stand before you this evening to mark yet another milestone in our efforts to develop, preserve and promote our literary heritage. The Reprint of Classics is an attempt to preserve a treasure trove from which generations after generations can quench their thirst for knowledge. This project is one of several initiatives through which we develop a vibrant culture of reading.

Just a week ago I was in Brugge, Belgium, where we discussed areas of cooperation including literacy promotion and language development, among others. This visit further affirmed the importance of language in the sustenance of culture and identity. The Dutch and Belgians are very proud of their language, so should we.

It is against this backdrop that Literature, and particularly that written in African languages, is very close to my heart. It is through literature that a people’s way of life, including norms and values, are chronicled and transferred from one generation to another.

One of the most vocal proponents of language preservation in the African literary landscape is Ngugi Wa Thing’o. In his book, Decolonizing the Mind (1986), Ngugi eloquently argues, “Language caries culture, and culture caries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we perceive ourselves and our place in the world…” The Department of Arts and Culture, as the custodian of our nation’s cultural heritage, is driven by the vision of promoting the culture of reading and writing and encouraging the use and equitable development of all South African languages.

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Complete 2nd phase reprint information

South African Classics: List of Second Phase of Reprints for 2010

Book details

Photo courtesy TimesLive


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