oa Mosenodi - Prospects for the indigenous languages of Botswana: implications of the Government White Paper No.2 of 1994

Volume 3, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN : 1021-559X



This paper examines the Botswana Government White Paper No. 2 of 1994 with the view to evaluate its implications for the indigenous languages of Botswana. This paper observes that although the government document projects a somewhat positive policy towards the languages of Botswana in general. As evidenced by the establishment of the Botswana Languages Council charged with the responsibility of developing a comprehensive language policy), it nevertheless falls short of covering the breadth of problems that affect the use of indigenous languages as viable vehicles of communication in a modern world. The policy document is primarily constrained by its conception in a socio-political climate where multilingualism is viewed as inimical to national unity. Furthermore the policy document emanates from a Report of the National Commission on Education, not a report of a national commission on commerce, agriculture, productivity, health law, or social services. As such, the policy document does not perceive the role of language outside the limited scope of education. In conclusion this paper urges construing language in a dispassionate manner, where language is seen as a developmental resource that needs to be harnessed and managed.

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