Episode 33 (Voices of Africa)

Dr. Joyce Dlamini-Sukumane

Paul’s guest for October 2020 is the distinguished South African linguist Dr. Joyce Dlamini-Sukumane. Paul and Joyce discuss various topics related to African languages, voices, dialects, and language policy.

Dr. Sukumane’s working career has been predominantly in higher education. She began teaching in 1976, having completed her teacher training in English Literature and African Languages. From the early years of her career and consistent with her training in languages and linguistics, she was privileged to enter the domain of language practice in terminology development, lexicography, translation, editing, orthography reviews, the writing of grammars, and literature development. Her teaching career spanned 27 years before she joined the Public Service as Deputy Director in the Language Planning and Development Unit at the Department of Arts and Culture in 2005. For three years in the position, she managed the development and implementation of national language policies and legislation. In 2008, she was promoted to head the Language Planning and Development Unit as director.

Her various professional roles have been teaching linguistics, languages, and literature in English and African Languages at different institutions of higher learning, which include Parkland State College (Illinois), and the universities of Swaziland, Zululand, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Limpopo, and South Africa.

While in public service, she valued her invigorating experience as a member of the Basic Education Minister’s Curriculum Management Team for the development of South African Sign Language (SASL). Similarly, serving on the Higher Education Minister’s Advisory Panel on Language Policy and African Languages was exciting, and, most importantly, her constant awareness of the pressing need for the development of African languages was heightened.

Having lived in various countries, she was able to experience firsthand their education systems, particularly in relation to her interest in languages and education. Her greatest achievements have been the final mainstreaming of multilingualism in the promulgation of the Use of Official Languages, Act No. 12 of 2012 and the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Act No. 8 of 2012.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)