I was recently invited to join a webinar hosted by the Indigenous Language Action Forum, ILAF, (https://ilaf.co.za/) in short. It is an organisation that promotes indigenous languages, with the aim to ensure the active use of these languages in important sectors such as education, criminal justice, healthcare etc. The webinar was titled “Using the indigenous languages at universities: Why do it and can it work?”. It was a first of its kind for the organisation and it brought different people in advocating for the use of indigenous languages in higher education in one setting. What touched me about this organisation and the webinar itself was the concept of having a positive narrative for the use of indigenous languages. The idea was to have a conversation about languages without putting others down.
This blog is about the historical literary works written in isiZulu and it shows us the prominent authors who contributed in ensuring that the history is preserved. The detailed information on each of the authors is accredited to Mazibuko (2008).
SADiLaR’s Tshivenda researcher, Mr Phathutshedzo Maxwell Ramukhadi, specialises in literature and making use of digital tools. He finds the field of literature particularly interesting and continued by saying:
“I want to familiarise myself with the field of Human Language Technology”
In the current Covid-19 situation and national lockdown Mr Ramukhadi is working on two articles named:
How to develop a Tshivenda digital literary corpus
The portrayal of children Character in Tshivenda play
Analysis of Tshivenda lemmatization tool
He says that he is planning to finish the two articles that he is currently working on, within the next few months, to submit them for review.
“I also want to start working on my PHD proposal”.
Mr Ramukhadi argues that digital humanities makes a greater impact in the African context because African languages has been under development for so long. In conclusion he says:
“Digital Humanities will contribute a lot to make sure that our languages are being treated and have the same standard as the European languages”.
During the month of January, the isiXhosa researcher from the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), the Siswati researcher and a programmer were fortune enough to be selected to attended a summer school in Pretoria, which was organised by the University of Pretoria’s Department of Information Science together with the Data-Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA), SADiLaR and Network of Data and Information Curation Communities (NeDICC). The CODATA-RDA Research Data summer school ran from 13 – 24 January 2020.
It was such a privilege to be part of the group of Africans to attend the first summer school presented in South Africa which provided a group of early career researchers with the essential data science skills which include technical skills and responsible research practices, to enable them to work with data in an effective and efficient manner required by the fast paced 21st century.