William Lesiba Molomo, an elderly language advocate and founder member of the Northern Amandebele National Organisation (NANO), whom fought for years for the language (Northern Sindebele) be given its fair share of national resources and prestige in the country.
In 1999, William Molomo took the matter before the constitutional court for allegedly neglecting the Ndebele language, one of the country’s 11 official languages and that the language was not included in school curricula in Northern Province (now refered to as Limpopo), which has an estimated 72 506 (at that time) Ndebele speaking citizens. According to Unisa archives, when the ordinary Ndebele people, especially the elderly, lamenting the fading of their language because of the dominance of Northern Sotho (now referred to as Sepedi) and other dominant languages in the schools. William and other Nothern Sindebele activists such as Nyadlo, Kekana, etc… response was if the language is to survive and grow, it has to appear in print. Virtually all Northern Sindebele advocates have been extremely vocal about the need to produce educational material in Sindebele for use in the foundation grades of schools that are situated in predominantly Northern Ndebele communities, and none of this has happened.
One of the great gospel singers and activist in Mahwelereng, Mokopane in Limpopo, “Petrus” Nyatlo wrote a song about William Molomo, son of Rachel who grew up in Mamelodi, whom also fought for the recognition of the language which is why some of the biggest communities in Limpopo still today speaks the Nothern Sindebele such as Zebediela, Mahwelereng, Mashashane, Bakenberg. Calling Advocate William Lesiba Molomo one of the great.
Molomo has this to say about what drove him to participate in the language struggle: “This feeling of Ndebele consciousness, the one about our desire to speak our own language and so on, was brought about by the creation of the homelands. Yes. It was brought about by the homeland system. That was because some people took it for granted that simply because they were the Bapedi and they had a written language, we [the Ndebele because we only had a spoken language] are nothing. We are nothing! In other words, we are going to dwindle … Ndebele consciousness was strengthened by domination.
There has been significant “progress” in the Mashashane area through the activities of the head of one of the local schools. one would recall back in the days when Chief Ndile, former principal of Kgolokgotlha Ledwaba High had students/pupils sing school songs in Nothern Sindebele.
Over one hundred participants attended the workshop organized by Advocate Molomo. Many came from areas such as gaMashashane, Mahwelereng, and Mošate (Valtyn). A few teachers came from the Bakenberg area, but the Ledwaba and Zebediela areas (also predominantly Northern Ndebele areas) had no representatives at the workshop. Molomo could not hide his disappointment about this lack of representation from these two areas, particularly in view of the fact that the two areas have been specifically invited to send representatives.