Thursday, May 10, 2007

Diversity in communities

I have an article published on this week’s edition of Writers Weekly. I’m rather excited about it, so if you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out?

Also, I’ve finally written the article that came out of my interview with Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Vice President of Global Inclusion & Diversity at Motorola.

I met Candi weeks ago while she was in South Africa, and she had some strong feelings about the role of education and mentorship in ensuring diversity in the workplace.

She speaks quite a lot about educating our children, guiding them, providing them with role models and how ensuring diversity shouldn't just be something companies have in their "to do" list to comply with laws and regulations. It should be part of our lives.

A lot of the information was not appropriate for my ITWeb article, which is strictly IT business orientated, so I asked if they’d like to see it and they responded with a yes. We’ll see how that works out.

Speaking of diversity, a book package for my book review project arrived last week, and Baby and I spent the past week going through it.

Baby divided the books into three piles – those she can read (English), those I wish she could read (Setswana language) and those she struggled through (Zulu language).

As we are not Zulu-speaking and our grasp of the language is basic, we decided to ask Baby’s friend (9 years old; next door) to read the Zulu books for us. Unfortunately, she can’t read the language. Like Baby, her English-language reading level is high, but she has no clue about reading her own language. So her grandmother has offered to read for us this coming weekend.

The issue of South African kids not being able to read or write in their own language is an emerging problem among the Black middle class, because we tend to send our kids to private schools where they may not necessarily teach the child’s mother tongue.

Baby’s friend speaks fluent English and Afrikaans (her school uses Afrikaans as a medium of instruction) but can’t read and write in her own language, and Baby can’t read or write in her mother tongue (Setswana) because her school doesn’t offer the language as an option.

This problem is one of the many reasons I began writing children's stories in Setswana (in addition to English).

Anyway, we selected Zanzibar Road, written and illustrated by Nicky Daly and I’ll post our review/impressions tomorrow. We have the English and Setswana versions of the book (published in 13) so we’ll look at it from a multi-lingual perspective too.

Update: It seems I'm not the only one recently asking questions about the use of African languages. Tsile Mabale asks on Biz-Community's forum why Black languages have vanished on South African TV adverts here

Biz-Community bills itself as South Africa's leading daily advertising, marketing and media news resource for the industry.

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