College of Human Sciences

Teamwork triumphs: Unisans celebrate Multilingualism Awards victory

In the pursuit of excellence, one often finds that success is not a solitary endeavour, but the result of collective effort, synergy and collaboration. This sentiment rings true for the College of Human Sciences' (CHS) Language Projects Team, whose collaborative efforts recently culminated in a triumphant victory at the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) Multilingualism Awards on 29 February 2024. In the hotly contested Education category, which honours the promotion of multilingualism in educational institutions, CHS emerged victorious with three prestigious awards, and walked away with a fourth award in the Youth category.


Joining PanSALB CEO Lance Craig Schultz (fourth from left) on stage were (from left) Unisans Dr Napjadi Letsoalo, Dr Kganathi Shaku, Thabisile Mchunu, Delvah Mabaso, Maropeng Maponya, Sibongile Mabena, Neliswa Mzimba and Jimmy Mabina

The Multilingual Proverbs Dictionary, Multilingual Spelling Bee Competition and Multilingual Robotics Glossary, each a labour of love and collective endeavour, captured the hearts and minds of judges, securing the third, second and coveted first position, respectively. However, behind these accolades lies a narrative of teamwork, synergy and shared vision that propelled CHS to victory.

At the heart of this success story are the dedicated individuals who tirelessly worked towards a common goal, pooling their expertise, creativity and passion to bring these projects to fruition. Among them are members from various departments within CHS, each contributing unique perspectives and skills to the collaborative effort.

From the Department of African Languages, colleagues such as Christinah Mabena, Jabulani Sibanyoni, Mamoya Letseleha, Thabisile Mchunu, Pemla Ditsele, Zinhle Mshengu, Thilivhali Mukosi, Delvah Mabaso, Nhlabathi Mawethu and Maropeng Maponya played pivotal roles in shaping the projects, enriching them with diverse linguistic expressions and cultural nuances.

Similarly, the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages boasted a formidable lineup of contributors, including Dr Kganathi Shaku, Rachel Maboa, Dr Napjadi Letsoalo, Jimmy Mabina, Neliswa Mzimba, Dr Fiona Ferris-Leone, Dr Dakalo Takalani and Jolene Raison. Their collective expertise and passion for languages were instrumental in organising a platform that celebrated linguistic diversity and prowess among participants.

Furthermore, the contributions of Unathi Ngada from the Department of Afrikaans and Theory of Literature, and Masisi Itumeleng from the Psychology Department, added depth and insight to the team's endeavours, underscoring the interdisciplinary nature of the projects.

From the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, esteemed colleagues such as Patricia Gouws, Andzani Sibiya, Kabelo Pheeha, Tumelo Nhlapo and Casper van Staden have seamlessly integrated their robotics expertise to facilitate the fruitful collaboration between language studies and robotics.

Additionally, Dr Moffat Sebola and Lufuno Meriri from the University of Limpopo brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise, further enriching the collaborative effort and reinforcing the spirit of partnership beyond institutional boundaries.

What sets this team apart is not just their individual talents, but their ability to synergise and harness the collective potential towards a shared vision of promoting multilingualism and cultural inclusivity. Through countless hours of brainstorming, research and collaboration, they transcended barriers, bridged divides and created initiatives that resonate with audiences across linguistic and cultural spectra.

The success of CHS at the PanSALB Multilingualism Awards is not merely a triumph for the institution, but a celebration of the power of teamwork and collaboration in effecting positive change. It underscores the importance of harnessing collective intelligence and diversity to address complex challenges and achieve meaningful impact in society.

As we celebrate this remarkable achievement, let us not forget the invaluable contributions of each team member, whose dedication, passion and unwavering commitment to linguistic excellence have paved the way for a more inclusive and multilingual future. Their collective efforts serve as a beacon of inspiration and a testament to the transformative power of teamwork in shaping a brighter tomorrow. 

* Submitted by Neliswa Mzimba and  Jimmy Mabina

Publish date: 2024/03/08

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