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The Rainbow Nation Multilingualism and Identity in South Africa

Film & Panel Discussion
19.09.2007, 19 Uhr
Goethe-Institut Johannesburg

Above the entrance to the High Court on Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg the words "Constitutional Court" are written in eleven languages. South Africa, and in particular Johannesburg, is a linguistic melting pot. What effect does the multilingualism of this city have on its inhabitants? Which role does the English language play, actually being the mother tongue for only a minority of people, and yet being the dominant lingua franca of the country, with respect to the identity of the people, their integration, their personal and their career possibilities? What does the linguistic future of South Africa look like?

The documentary film "The Rainbow Nation - Multilingualism and Identity in South Africa", which was recently shot jointly by the Goethe-Institut and the film academy of WITS University, looks at these questions. The film was shown in June 2007 was the South African contribution to the congress "Die Macht der Sprache" ("The Power of Language") in Berlin.

After the screening of the film, Professor Pumla Gqola (WITS University) and Professor Robert Balfour (University of KwaZulu Natal) will comment on the questions raised in the film in short talks.

The event will be held in English. In cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Goethe-Institut in South Africa

    Publication on "The Power of Language"

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