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Sri Lanka Participates in UNESCO International Mother Language Day Celebrations in South Africa
(l-r) Dan Bahadur Tamang. Ambassador of Nepal, Nelson Muffuh, UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Suminda Mendis, Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and Prabhat Kumar, High Commissioner of India

28 February 2024

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

The 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. The International Mother Language Day is celebrated on 21 February every year.

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The event was attended by around 300 people and Sri Lanka presented three cultural items. A traditional Sri Lankan dance was performed by Madusha Rodrigo while a contemporary Sri Lankan dance was performed by Sithumini Perera. One of the prominent Sri Lankan songs, 'Magē Ratata Daladā Himi Sewanayi' was sung by a couple of Sri Lankan students dressed in national costume.

Members of the Sri Lankan community in Pretoria also participated in the event. The High Commission of Sri Lanka exhibited books written in all three languages (Sinhala, Tamil, and English) at the book fair held on the sidelines of the event.

Among the other South Asian nations, India, Bangladesh and Nepal presented cultural performances in their mother languages at the event.

The event concluded with the serving of traditional Sri Lankan, Indian, Nepali, and Bangladeshi cuisine.

High Commission of Sri Lanka in Pretoria, South Africa

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