The 21st of May marks World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This auspicious date is dedicated to celebrating the bounteous wealth of cultures all over the world and commemorating the importance of intercultural dialogue in achieving and maintaining world peace and sustainable development. First conceived in May 2002, this day continues striving to enhance the potential of culture to improve the livelihoods of people all over the world.
International Mother Language Day was established to raise awareness of the importance of multilingualism, and linguistic and cultural diversity. Inspired by the 1952 Bengali Language Movement, which sought recognition for the Bengali language, this annual observance is part of the United Nations’ larger initiative to “promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”.
This Heritage month, Folio takes a look at issues of language, heritage, and heritage languages. Language is a fundamental part of cultural heritage. That’s a given. Even when overlooking subcategories such as linguistic heritage, the languages we speak are some of the primary building blocks that make us who we are and indicate where we come from, both geographically and socio-culturally.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Nombulelo Cekwana, Folio’s experienced South African Sign Language interpreter who shared details of her fascinating job.