Studies have proven that the Basic Education Department in South Africa faces a numerous challenges as learners fail do well in areas of language and literacy. The aims of this paper are twofold. Firstly, it describes and discusses the basic education current situation by outlining the educational landscape, relevant policy imperatives and policy implementation challenges in post-apartheid education. Secondly, it argues that Indigenous African languages have a role to play in improving the ailing basic education sector in South Africa through its contribution as an alternative tool to learning and assessment of learners. It is further suggested that the initiatives of literacy development must be socially responsive and population-focused in order to make meaningful contributions to the literacy development in the South African education sector. The potential role of African Indigenous African languages is discussed with suggestions for further actions required for schools and the basic education department to enable a contextually relevant practice in a resource-constrained education system.
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