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Translating indigenous language literary classics

The South African Literary Classics Project was introduced in 2008 by the National Department of Arts and Culture with the main goal of promoting a culture of reading in South African indigenous languages. The Centre for the Book, an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa, was mandated to initiate and manage the project. To date 157 200 copies of literary classics have been produced and circulated nationwide.

Interest from readers prompted the project management team to consider translating some of the reprinted classics into other indigenous languages. Selected Sotho cluster titles will be translated to Nguni cluster and vice versa. This process has begun with sourcing reputable translators and meeting with the publishing houses. This initiative is important to foster social cohesion as well as cultural understanding and tolerance among South Africans.

For more information on South African Literary Classics project contact Mandla Mona at 012 401 9753 or

Mandla Mona
Reprint of African Language Classics Coordinator, Centre for the Book


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