Orthography Challenges in Khoisan Literacy

The Case of Gǀui and Gǁana Communities


  • Gabanamotse-Mogara Budzani


Khoisan, Botswana, Orthography, languages in education policy, Gǀui and Gǁana


The Gǀui and Gǁana speech communities belong to the Khoe-Kwadi family of Khoisan languages which have not experienced development like other languages in Southern Africa, with the possible exceptions of Nama and Ju|’hoan in Namibia. When the Botswana Government decided to implement the Languages in Education Policy, there was a need to establish the vitality of all local languages with the view to include those that hitherto were not used as a medium of instruction in primary schools. Using historical sources and qualitative analysis of the vitality survey, the paper discusses the challenges faced in developing orthographies for Khoisan languages in general and Gǀui and Gǁana in particular. The paper argues that Gǀui and Gǁana should adopt a common orthographic convention and that there is a need to harmonize such.


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