International Mother Language Day was hosted on 24 February 2024 at the High Commission of India in Pretoria.

H.E Mr. Shri Prabhat Kumar, High Commissioner of India, welcomed members of the Diplomatic Corps and guests. 21 February was designated by the United Nations as International Mother Language Day. It has been observed and celebrated since 2002 after the resolution in support of this day was passed by the UN General Assembly. Bangladesh took the lead in getting this day enshrined in the international calendar, and therefore, special congratulations were extended to the Bangladesh High Commission and citizens.

South Africa has officially recognized 11 languages; India has 22 officially recognized languages. The importance of the Mother Language in education is well known. It is a proven fact that children have a better understanding of a curriculum if it is taught in the Mother tongue, especially in the early years.

H.E. Mr. Shri Prabhat Kumar reminded guests that:

“Language enriches our culture, and culture enriches life; therefore, our formation as a cultural being is not complete without our language.”

Various presentations were performed by artists ranging from dancing, singing, and poetry from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and various parts of India, encapsulating the rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Guests enjoyed celebrating the linguistic and cultural diversity shared by various participating countries and their Embassies.

by Marion Kate