Human rights education will receive a multilingual boost this week with the launch of the Know Your Rights comic book for schoolchildren in all 11 official languages - just in time for Human Rights Day celebrations on Monday.
The Rapid Phase Group, makers of the Madame & Eve cartoon and writers of the popular television drama Soul City, produced the book in English in 1996 to popularise the new Constitution and Bill of Rights. Now, with R500 000 from the European Union Foundation for Human Rights, the comic book has been translated and reproduced in all South African languages. Education departments in each province will receive copies in local languages for distribution to senior schools.
Harry Dugmore, co-creator of Madame & Eve and Know Your Rights, said the project “raises questions about why we have 11 official languages, and yet so few things come out in Venda or other small languages”.
The story centres on a crooked cop who arrests two innocent women. The women’s efforts to protect their rights provides the educational content.
Said Dugmore, “Often we take the Constitution for granted, but it’s when you are arrested that a lot of rights issues spring up. We want kids to know that they are living in a country that protects those rights.”
The project is supported by the Human Rights Commission and South African Airways.