At least two native Khoekhoegowab language speakers have accused poet and rapper Bradley van Sitters of speaking gibberish when ushering in President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.
Van Sitters made history when he became the first Khoi praise singer to usher in the President before the address.
Native Khoekhoegowab speaker Lammie !Haoseb and Khoi and San Language Board member Willem Damarah says although some words used in the praise song were accurate, no sentences made coherent sense.
Lammie !Haoseb says: “You cannot correlate what he was saying to the translated version. It was absolute gibberish what he was saying. And I feel that he truly messed up the heritage of the language.”
Damarah says: “They shouldn’t have allowed that gentleman to do that. It was not Khoekhoegowab what he was saying. There were no sentences, it’s just words.”
However, the praise singer says the confusion is due to a new dialect in the language.
“I am a third language speaker and I can understand if a first language speaker would say he didn’t say that right or this right. I understand, but they also need to understand that I am not a first language speaker. We are developing a new dialect of Khoekhoegowab.”
Van Sitters says the focus should be placed on officially recognising Khoi and San languages and not praise-singing.
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