Mr Jacob Thamaga: Committed to Promoting Multilingualism at VUT
By: Qhawekazi Memani 25 February 2022
Mr Jacob Thamaga is a Sepedi Language Practitioner and Acting Manager in the African Languages Development Unit (ALDU) within the Centre for Academic Development CAD). The ALDU focuses on advocating the development of historically marginalized South African languages in different forms within VUT.
The ALDU was launched in 2018, to integrate teaching and learning enhancement activities through the use of African languages in VUT. Likewise, the development of African languages played a significant role in terms of enabling VUT to comply with the National Language Frameworks.
Over the years, ALDU has achieved the following:
- Leading initiatives to market the unit
- Forging a relationship with provincial and national Arts and Culture departments, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), VUT faculties and support departments.
- Ensuring the language policy is reviewed as mandated by the Department of Higher Education and Technology (DHET) – a significant accomplishment for the unit and university at large
- Developing several terminologies in the fields of business management, travel and tourism management, and electronics.
- Translating leaner guides and lectures PowerPoint presentations
About Jacob Thamaga
Mr Thamaga was born at Ga Mochemi village in Bochum, Polokwane, He holds a bachelors (BA) Degree in Media Studies from the University of Limpopo, a postgraduate Diploma in Sport Development from the university of the Western Cape and a Master’s Degree in Translation Studies and Linguistics from the University of Limpopo.
As a sports fanatic, Mr Thamaga is a member of Volleyball Board of Directors; such as,
the President of Gauteng Volleyball Union and PR & Media Director of Volleyball South Africa.
AT VUT, he is responsible for:
- Managing ALDU and the University Capacity Development grant
- Coordinating the:
- design, development and facilitation of African language modules for communication purposes
- all translations, editing and transcribing projects;
- language research projects within ALDU; and
- the promotion of African Languages Development Programmes through newspapers, pop-ups, social events and radio interviews;
Before joining VUT Mr Thamaga worked for several organizations, including the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the University of Limpopo.
According to him, the greatest impact of ALDU under his leadership has been managed the launch of the translation projects, terminology development projects, trans-languaging project, and the editing project,” he states proudly.
Success always comes with challenges and ALDU is no different. “We would love to promote all of South Africa’s indigenous languages, however, due to budget constraints we are forced to start with just a few.”
Appealing to young researchers, Thamaga said: “there is this myth that developing and using Indigenous languages as languages of teaching and learning is a waste of time and a costly exercise. Your research should seek to demonstrate the importance of the use of mother tongue/ indigenous based languages for teaching and learning.”