Neville Alexander Award for the Best Contribution towards the Promotion of Multilingualism

The Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans – SBA (Foundation for Empowerment through Afrikaans) was recently honoured with the prestigious Neville Alexander Award for the best contribution towards the promotion of multilingualism as part of the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s annual cultural awards.

The SBA continuously aims to fulfill its mandate to serve all users of Afrikaans. SBA chairperson, dr. Marlene le Roux, confirms: “The SBA projects are designed in order to contribute toward nation-building through Afrikaans and multilingualism forms an integral part of this process.”

Initiatives such as a unique multilingual job hunt pocket guide for those entering the formal working sector, an Afrikaans-isiXhosa colouring storybook as well as the distribution of additional learning material in a multilingual context, are but a few of the SBA projects recognised by this award.

SBA’s involvement in local communities aimed at preservation and celebration of our diverse language identity and origin, was also emphasised. The SBA stories project, initially launched in 2016, aims to capture the experiences of the elderly in remote areas across the diverse landscape of the Western Cape through storytelling. These recounts are produced with English subtitles as well as sign language interpretation. The annual Afrikaans Sing! choir festival at Artscape is another project that was recognised for its noteworthy contribution toward multilingualism and language diversity in the Western Cape context and the integral part such an event plays in the process of nation-building.

The SBA believes that its projects continuously contribute to a diverse, inclusive image of Afrikaans, subsequently fulfilling a positive role in the development of the language as such.

Dr. Niel le Roux, the SBA CEO, who accepted the award along with his small team on Saturday evening, said: “The recognition that this award brings has extra significance for the SBA, as 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. We are proud of the SBA’s joint Afrikaans and isiXhosa publications, literacy initiatives and events through which we provide access to and a greater appreciation of the Western Cape’s official languages.”

  • The award token, designed by Cape Town-based environmental artist Heat Nash, is a speculative re-imagining of the Blombos ochre as a piece of a larger ancient work. It represents the earliest evidence of a drawing in the archaeological record, dated to 73 000 years ago.

Information: 18th Annual Cultural Awards programme. The Western Cape: Cradle of culture.