oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - Revitalising and preserving endangered indigenous languages in South Africa through writing and publishing

Volume 78, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



Libraries and librarians play a central role in organising and communicating knowledge. They are an important part of the knowledge production and use chain. The development and sustenance of a knowledge-based economy hinges on their ability to facilitate the accessibility, retrievability and usability of the knowledge and information that permeates the information society. Writers and publishers as part and parcel of the knowledge chain are central to the production and distribution of ideas. Language is fundamental to their ability to communicate and get their literal messages, expressions and ideas through. Their preferred language of writing and publishing may mean a difference between the growth and demise of a language of a society and its culture and civilisation. Many indigenous languages around the globe are struggling to survive because of various reasons including neglect by writers and publishers. Publishers and writers as major role players in the knowledge production and reproduction chain may assist in promoting and preserving indigenous languages in general and in South Africa in particular. This may ensure that South Africa's knowledge economy develops without sidelining or discriminating against any culture or language. There are challenges and opportunities that writers and publishers are likely to face in attempting to revitalise and empower indigenous languages in South Africa, but they are not insurmountable. Using a theoretical approach, the purpose of this article is to highlight the role that writers and publishers may play in revitalising and preserving endangered indigenous languages in South Africa. Recommendations are made on how the role players may deal with the challenges that have culminated in the neglect of the endangered indigenous languages.

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