The Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme (ILPP) is a sectorial priority implemented by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC). Through this programme the SABDC aims to stimulate growth and development in the book sector, increase indigenous languages publishing and to support the ongoing production of South African authored books in the local languages.

“The Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme is really about original works in original language; therefore translations are not really our focus. However, the job of the ILPP is to push and encourage more books to be published in indigenous languages and telling relevant stories in the language of the people. The ILPP sees a great deal of importance in this as it further develops the use and preservation of our languages. By encouraging people to read more books in their home language, not only are we securing the future of these languages, but we are also instilling a sense of pride and heritage in our people.” says the CEO of the SABDC, Elitha van der Sandt

The programme has been developed within the imperatives of the Draft National Book Policy 2005 and the National Book Development Plan 2009. It is based on the principles of book development, where not only more books are being produced, but the mechanisms by which these books are produced, are also changed.

The programme supports SMME and independent publishers in producing books in the indigenous languages. It funds up to 50% of the cost of publishing the book, while the publishers incur the remaining costs. This programme therefore shares the risks that publishers ordinarily carry on their own when publishing to new markets.

The SABDC sources funding from sources like the National Lotteries Commission and National Arts Council to implement the ILPP.

Short term objectives

  • Publish a series of books in the recognised, previously marginalised indigenous languages of South Africa
  • Increase the diversity of books available beyond the school market
  • Increase the number of black authors earning royalties
  • Increase the support to small and independent publishers operating in the book sector
  • Increase access for the blind and visually impaired

Long term objectives

  • Increase diversity in content available to all South Africans
  • Increase cultural diversity through books in indigenous languages
  • Contribute to the transformation of the South African book sector
  • Increase the number of readers through providing different kinds of material
  • Increasing the economic diversity in the book sector through supporting small and independent publishers