Arts & Culture Promoting Kalanga in books full steam ahead
by Itumeleng Tshenyego repr. Mmegi Online.
FRANCISTOWN: The writer’s society of Mukani Action Campaign (MAC) don’t just write books in their mother tongue of Kalanga, but they also aim at promoting the language.
Writers who aspired to employ their literary prowess to promote the language established the society in 1997 and located their first offices behind Francistown College of Education campus. The society comprised of bible translators, poets and novelists. The society liaised with other societies such as the Society for the Promotion of Ikalanga Language (SPIL), Bible Society of Botswana and The Kalanga Bible Translation Project, which all share the same vision to preserve Kalanga.
One of the writers, Modisaotsile Mothibi, who resides in Marobela village said since its establishment they have managed to liaise with bookstores around Francistown to sell their books. Ngatizwidiyeni Ikalanga (Kalanga Phrase Book) and Tjilenje: Ndobolo Ye Bakalanga, both written by Reverend P.L.G Mothibi, are two of the many Kalanga books that were published over the years.
Mothibi (Modisaotsile) further said that they also write books in Kalanga for school children, ready for the time government decides to make it one of the languages to be taught in school.”It is important for young people to learn Kalanga since most of them distance themselves from it due to lack of available Kalanga literary works,” he said.He also mentioned that they mostly promote their books during the Domboshaba music festival, which is held annually in September. MAC established the Domboshaba Music festival in conjunction with SPIL in 2000 as a way of promoting the Kalanga language.
Through the music festival, people are able to show interest in their books, which in turn boosts their sales. “But it is so sad that the Kalanga youth do not show interest in our books because they would learn a lot about our history hence preserving Kalanga heritage,” he said.The society also conducts classes that can teach people how to read and write Kalanga. Sadly, people do have not shown much interest in these classes. They are also faced with financial challenges as a group because it is a volunteer organisation. The society prides itself with Modisaotsile Mothibi’s book entitled Mwali, which has sparked interest in non-Kalanga readers because it showcases Kalanga history.