The Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa participated in the UNESCO International Mother Language Day Celebrations organized by the South Asian High Commissions and United Nations Office in South Africa, on February 24, 2024. 


International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002. The underlying premise was the recognition that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, and in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage. International Mother Language Day is celebrated on February 21st, every year. 


At this event, attended by around 300 people, Sri Lanka presented three cultural items: a Traditional Sri Lankan Dance performed by Mrs. Madusha Rodrigo, a Contemporary Sri Lankan Dance performed by Mrs. Sithumini Perera, and one of the prominent Sri Lankan songs, 'Magē Ratat Daladā Himi Sewanayi' (මගේ රටට දළදා හිමි සෙවණයි), sung by a couple of Sri Lankan students dressed in national costume. Some members of the Sri Lankan community in Pretoria also participated in the event. In parallel to the main event, a Book Exhibition was conducted, enabling visitors to learn and read in other languages. The High Commission of Sri Lanka exhibits books written in all three languages (Sinhala, Tamil, and English).


Among other Asian nations, India presented cultural items such as songs and traditional dances in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu and Gujarati, several of the many mother languages of India. Bangladesh presented items in their mother languages: Urdu and Bengali. Nepal presented their cultural items in the Nepali Language.


The event culminated with the serving of traditional Sri Lankan, Indian, Nepali, and Bangladeshi food and sweets.


High Commission of Sri Lanka in Pretoria

26 February 2024