Presentation of the Recommendations from the Okahandja 1996 conference, for readers of the Bisharat! web site. Return to Basic Documents.

Regional Workshop on Cross-Border Languages

National Institute for Educational Development (NIED)

Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996


A. General

  1. As much as possible, orthographies of cross-border languages should be standardised and harmonised in order to encourage

    1. the exchange of materials,

    2. the sharing of expenses, and

    3. the pooling of human resources, and thus reduce the cost of promoting these languages.

  2. Terminology should be harmonised across borders and new words should be jointly coined and introduced into each cross-border language by joint committees.

  3. Curricula should be harmonised across borders to ease co-operation in teacher training and teacher exchange, notwithstanding differences in aims and objectives across borders.

  4. Curricula should be developed both for the schools and for teacher training.

  5. In order to contribute towards a proper understanding and a modern development of cross-border languages, collaborative linguistic research programmes should be initiated.

  6. The countries of the sub-region which do not as yet have National Language Boards (i.e.. Namibia and Angola) should endeavour to establish them.

  7. Teachers should be encouraged to go into teaching (African languages) as a career and to remain there by being offered incentives. Similarly, students should be encouraged to read linguistics and African languages at tertiary level (university and colleges of education).

  8. Curricula for teacher education should be amended to accommodate the needs and rights of the handicapped (special education).

  9. Curriculum committees which deal with languages should include people who are experts in fields other than language.

  10. Language awareness campaigns should be launched throughout the sub-region. Language Boards, Curriculum Committees, etc.. should play an active role in seeing to the realisation of this recommendation.

B. Oshikwanyama (Angola and Namibia)

  1. The Oshikwanyama alphabet should now be as agreed at this workshop.

  2. Unable to resolve differences in the area of word division in the orthography, the group recommends that, in the short term, each country should stick to its own practice, but that a working group should be set up to look into the matter and come up with an informed recommendation acceptable to both parties. The Education Officer for Oshikwanyama (Namibia) and an Oshikwanyama language expert (Angola) are to see to it that the working group on orthography is established.

  3. The Namibian draft curriculum for teacher training should be made available to the Angolan side which should study it and make recommendations for amendment where necessary.

  4. Gamsberg Macmillan Publishers' offer of a donation of Oshikwanyama books to Angola free of charge should be accepted and the donors thanked.

C. Silozi (Namibia and Zambia)

  1. The Silozi group, having identified vast areas of disagreement in the practice of Silozi orthography in Namibia and Zambia, recommend a follow-up workshop or workshops with the aim of harmonising Silozi orthography in the two countries.

  2. The group notes that Zambian Silozi materials are frequently used in the Caprivi Region of Namibia and suggests that this trend should be allowed to continue.

  3. Both parties in the Silozi group agree that the standard form of Silozi is the variety spoken in the Mongu area in Zambia.

  4. A Working Committee should be set up to continue to share experiences in language matters.

D. Setswana (Namibia, Botswana, South Africa)

  1. Although there are no problems of harmonisation, Dr Tsonope (Botswana) is to circulate to Namibia and the Republic of South Africa (RSA) relevant documents from the latest workshop held in Botswana on problematic and nonstandardised aspects of the Setswana orthography.

  2. Terminology lists in the area of grammar and literature should be circulated by Botswana and RSA delegates `through their leaders (as Namibia has no such lists in Setswana).

  3. Teachers of Setswana in Namibia should be given a say in the selection of Setswana materials for the schools.

  4. Botswana is to send copies of its teacher training syllabus in Setswana to Namibia and RSA. This syllabus is elaborative enough to serve as an example of the development of a harmonised curriculum in these countries.

  5. Facilities which exist for teacher training in Botswana and in RSA should be explored as a matter of urgency for purposes of upgrading the qualifications of Namibian Setswana teachers.

  6. Professor J. Snyman is to circulate documents from a previous attempt at establishing a regional Setswana Academy, the reason being to stimulate dialog towards the formation of a trans-state language body. Such a body would liaise with language boards/committees in Botswana, Namibia and RSA, and thereby facilitate harmonisation of and collaboration on a common language.

  7. Delegates should lobby for a trilateral educational agreement between the three countries - Botswana, Namibia, and RSA.

Text source: Cross-border languages : reports and studies, Regional Workshop on Cross-Border Languages, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996 / edited by K. Legere. Windhoek : Gamsberg Macmillan, 1998. With thanks to Prof. Karsten Legere.

Okahandja 1996 :   Programme   Welcome   Opening   Recommendations   Closing

Return to the Basic Documents page.