Ringo Madlingozi, one of the party’s newly-elected members, raised the point that Afrikaans is “the language of the oppressor”. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. In denying the commonality of their fellow Afrikaans speakers who were descendants of slaves, indigenous people or simply poor, they were elevating the language to a narrow ethnic nationalist cause. In 1860 one of the students in a Cape Town madrasah (an Islamic school), a descendant of slaves, copied a prayer in his exercise book. Not only was the language labelled the “language of the oppressor”, introducing multigenerational antagonism against it, but these policies also caused deep levels of alienation among generations of first language speakers. If increasing this diversity results in more graduates, more PhDs and more research papers, then it is surely a good thing. Last year, he said, more than … It’s a figure that will by all indications increase significantly in the next decade. This is but one example of a well-known tradition of a'jami scripts produced in the Cape Muslim community in the latter half of the 19th century and well into the 1950s. We cannot adopt the approach that one language has to be selected at the expense of another. The Genootskap van Regte Afrikaanders (GRA, the Society of True Afrikaners), established in 1875, actively sought to foster a nationalism among white Cape Dutch speakers. The DA supports the use of both English and Afrikaans as primary and equal languages of instruction at Stellenbosch; in other words, completely dual-medium. N/A, Oxfordshire, Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. Before we dismiss the rights of Afrikaans students to continue receiving mother tongue instruction, we should ask ourselves what effect this would have on diversity, as well as access to education at the institution. But it also bears the imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an all-embracing humanism and anti-apartheid activism. As to Afrikaans as the language of the oppressor, it is certainly true that Afrikaans has been forced down the throats of the majority of South Africans. We do not advocate for the status quo, where certain courses are exclusively offered in Afrikaans, and we also do not agree with reducing Afrikaans to a mere support language at the university. University of Pretoria provides funding as a partner of The Conversation AFRICA. Online, Oxfordshire, Aston Talks: Assistive technologies for people with impaired mobility - online public lecture by Professor William Holderbaum Also, that their worldview was the only significant expression of being Afrikaans speaking. A South African Muslim man in Cape Town, South Africa. Would they call it exclusionary and discriminatory and call for it to be demoted? It goes as far as to say that every person has the right to be taught in the language of their choice, where reasonably practicable. In a disastrous policy decision, Afrikaans was imposed as a language of instruction on black, non-Afrikaans speakers in 1974. For them Afrikaans was “a pure Germanic language” of “purity, simplicity, brevity and vigour” (quoted in Giliomee). Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. Because the DA is such a diverse party that brings people from all walks of life together around ideas and values, rather than constructs like race or language, we have to deal with far more wedge issues than any other party. I understand very well that Afrikaans was used in the past to oppress black people. Along with this diversity comes a geographic concentration of languages. Portsmouth, Hampshire, Online talk: Prof Sir Andy Haines and Prof Chris Dye in Conversation: "Building back healthier: climate change, health and the recovery from Covid-19" We have never said this. A But when you listen to many of the anti-Afrikaans arguments being put forward, there seems to be far more at play. This a very slippery slope. poor in the number of its words, weak in its inflections, wanting in accuracy of meaning. Doggedly, these early Afrikaner language nationalists and their successors modified, standardised and modernised a spoken language. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. It was spoken by peasants, the urban proletariat whatever their ethnic background and even the middle class of civil servants, traders and teachers. Demand for Afrikaans-language teaching is falling, according to the University of Pretoria, which says 85% of its students came from Afrikaans-speaking households in 1992, dropping to 30% in 2015. © 2019 Democratic Alliance | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy, Democratic Alliance, registered non profit organisation in South AfricaReg No: 011-895 NPO. It is critical that we guard against this, particularly given the recent tendency towards extreme populism from certain political players. Removing Afrikaans as a primary language of instruction at a university with such a rich Afrikaans academic history, and which services a predominately Afrikaans community, will do the exact opposite. Surely our efforts should now be to develop some of our other local languages to this level of academic capability rather than diminish the one language that is already there. Afrikaans (UK: / ˌ æ f r ɪ ˈ k ɑː n s /, US: / ˌ ɑː f-/) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.It evolved from the Dutch vernacular of Holland (Hollandic dialect) spoken by the Dutch settlers in South Africa, where it gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics in the course of the 18th century. This is an edited, updated version of an article Prof Willemse wrote for Mistra in 2015. Afrikaans is called the language of the oppressor. The institution has to find ways to continue to advance Afrikaans without the perceptions and experiences of racist behaviour associated with early and ruling Afrikaner nationalist practices. The DA’s position on Afrikaans at Stellenbosch is based on inclusivity, diversity and increased access to opportunities. So the objective should not be to develop a dozen academic languages, but rather to offer a diversity of languages that allow for more students to study. Would the same critics be vocal in their opposition of this language as a primary medium of instruction? They also minimised the role and place of black Afrikaans speakers in the broader speech community. This way, no one would be denied the opportunity to study at any given university because of their language. — A good number of Damaras and Namas also use Afrikaans as their second home language. This simplified, creolised language had its roots mainly in Dutch, mixed with seafarer variants of Malay, Portuguese, Indonesian and the indigenous Khoekhoe and San languages. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. This will involve hard work over a long time, but our energy will be far better spent supporting the development and use of, for example, Sesotho at the University of the Free State, Setswana at the University of the North West and isiZulu at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, than destroying Afrikaans at Stellenbosch. I understand very well that Afrikaans was used in the past to oppress black people. It’s therefore not surprising that socio-political history often casts Afrikaans as the language of racists, oppressors and unreconstructed nationalists. Our Constitution promotes a spirit of diversity and inclusion. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. One of the undoubted successes of Afrikaner nationalist hegemony was the creation of the myth that they, and only they, spoke for those identified as “Afrikaners”. The expedient way to deal with these wedge issues would be to either withdraw from the debate altogether and let it blow over, or to weigh up the pros and cons and then side with the least damaging view. Like so many debates these days, Twitter hashtags and protest slogans have reduced the issue to a binary “for” and “against” choice. Having nearly equal status with English, Afrikaans has the dubious honor of being a second white oppressor language. Afrikaans was constructed as a “white language”, with a “white history” and “white faces”. In this case, written in Arabic script. This could not be further from the truth, but it is low-hanging fruit for those who want to exploit what is known as a “wedge issue” in politics. An African might find that ‘the big boss’ spoke only Afrikaans or English. The racial prejudice and middle class bias underlying many of their choices had far-reaching implications. It is important that we have this conversation, but at the end of the day we must respect the autonomy of the University of Stellenbosch. He also went on to bemoan the existence of Die Stem in the national anthem, causing controversy in the chambers: We live in a global society and it is crucial that our universities become globally competent and produce graduates who are globally competitive. The impact was the point of ignition for the Soweto uprising in 1976 and along with it, suspicion of its speakers. But it is hardly surprising that the DA’s position in the University of Stellenbosch language debate has been construed by our opponents – and by certain voices in the media – as an attempt to protect privilege. In these circumstances it is both practicable and beneficial to run the university as a completely dual-medium institution. Indeed, Afrikaans has a violent and racist history of oppression during the eras of White Afrikaner nationalism and Apartheid. It is currently also nearly impossible to find a journal willing to publish academic work in isiZulu, which makes her achievement all the more remarkable. Birmingham, Birmingham, The Large Hadron Collider and the Hidden Universe These are the words of Punt Janson who was the Deputy Minister of the Bantu Education at the time. I am not prepared to do either of these things. This policy was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded as the language of the oppressor by the black people. Like several other South African languages, Afrikaans is a cross-border language spanning sizeable communities of speakers in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. They disseminated what was called Cape Dutch during the late 1780s and early 1800s to the northwestern Cape Colony, today’s west coast of the Northern Cape and southern Namibia. In the Western Cape, more people speak Afrikaans as a first language than any other language, and the majority of these people are not white. They will ultimately make their decision, as they are entitled to do. Despite the fact that English was the other official language, the business of government and This is what we should be embracing and encouraging, as far as it is practicable. The controversy over the medium of instruction at traditionally Afrikaans universities such as Stellenbosch has brought this to the fore again. They played a major role in its establishment as the language of trade, culture and education. I think we all know the answer to that. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. They sought to write a nationalist history of oppressors and victims (also Giliomee). Birmingham, Warwickshire, Online talk: Net zero – why and how? Myles Allen, Kaya Axelsson, Sam Fankhauser & Steve Smith in conversation Arabic-Afrikaans was also used in daily communication, the making of shopping lists and political pamphlets. Desmond Tutu, bishop of Lesotho and later Dean of Johannesburg, stated that Afrikaans was "the language of the oppressor". If it is truly about expanding access, then surely the more quality dual-medium universities we have, the better. It’s essential to consider the current status of Afrikaans, as well as its history. One gets the sense that, for many, this is not just about removing Afrikaans from Stellenbosch, but from wider society. Around 1870 the first steps towards the battle between various views on the nature of Cape Dutch, or what would become known as Afrikaans, were taken. Indeed, while there may be those who delude themselves in thinking that Afrikaans is the 'language of the oppressed', one cannot simply ignore the social environment in which 'the oppressed' came to speak Afrikaans in the first place as slaves who tried to manoeuvre their way across the Dutch language of their Slave masters. This is meant to be about expanding access to opportunities through higher education. These nationalist culture brokers suppressed oppositional and alternative thought within the Afrikaner community. Precisely because of our plurality, our Constitution protects the languages and cultures of minorities to prevent them from simply being swept away by a wave of majoritarianism. For the Cape Muslims, a literate community, this language was the bearer of their most intimate thoughts and their religion. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. Online talk: Net zero – why and how? However, being ‘nearly’ equal is a point of contention for the Afrikaner people and Afrikaans speakers. In a classic straw-man fallacy, it is usually claimed that the DA wants Afrikaans to remain the dominant medium of instruction at the university, and then we are attacked on this basis. Should it be in Afrikaans, English, a combination, or a hybrid which will include other South African languages? Afrikaans also has a “black history” rather than just the known hegemonic apartheid history inculcated by white Afrikaner Christian national education, propaganda and the media. South Africa is a diverse society. The Cape Malay community’s earliest members were slaves brought to South Africa by the Dutch. — This is the inscription on the pathway that leads up to the Afrikaans Taalmonument (‘Afrikaans Language Monument’) in Paarl, South Africa. But I will not get drawn into this type of populism contest. Only 18% of students said they wanted classes in Afrikaans at the last count in 2016. The debate over Afrikaans rises from South Africa’s deep racial divisions. The language of the oppressor. In South Africa and Namibia it’s spoken across all social indices, by the poor and the rich, by rural and urban people, by the under-educated and the educated. I will not lay low on an issue that has far-reaching repercussions for millions of South Africans, simply because it is tricky territory, and I will not automatically adopt a majoritarian position simply because it is politically expedient. Apart from the phonetic spelling, any contemporary Afrikaans speaker would recognise it as near-modern Afrikaans. In 1976 the black Africans' hatred of apartheid, and of Afrikaans as the "language of the oppressor," came to a head in Soweto, a black "township" outside of Johannesburg. It is based on a simplified form of Dutch called Kitchen Dutch and is useful mainly for swearing and elaborate insults. The 1994 Consensus, and the vision that Nelson Mandela had for South Africa, was about embracing diversity and building diverse institutions. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations. Some of the leading figures of what would become known as the “first language movement” (1874–1890) strenuously denied the creole nature of the language. Type: Chapter Pages: 45–61 Login via Institution Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access): €29.95 $34.95. Apart from the fact that some formerly oppressed groups use Afrikaans as their mother tongue; Afrikaans is also employed by the working class when they communicate across ethnic lines – especially those who were born before independence. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and … Inclusion in South Africa cannot be a zero-sum gain. Myles Allen, Kaya Axelsson, Sam Fankhauser & Steve Smith in conversation, Aston Talks: Assistive technologies for people with impaired mobility - online public lecture by Professor William Holderbaum, The Large Hadron Collider and the Hidden Universe, Online talk: Prof Sir Andy Haines and Prof Chris Dye in Conversation: "Building back healthier: climate change, health and the recovery from Covid-19". — The Stellenbosch language debate has proven to be a hugely polarising issue. But Afrikaans today is not the enemy, and neither are those who speak it. Four years ago a student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Zinhle Nkosi, was awarded her PhD in Education. Today six in 10 of the almost seven million Afrikaans speakers in South Africa are estimated to be black. We certainly do not want classes that are racially divided. Images of the 1976 Soweto uprising are invoked. The language of Afrikaans remains a contested issue in South Africa. Hein Willemse does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. It is perhaps useful to ask this: If we were dealing here with a university that had a fifty year-old tradition of academic excellence in another African language – say isiXhosa – would we be having this debate? Victims ( also Giliomee ) a spoken language, South Africa, and the vision that Nelson Mandela demoted! Community, this language community self-identified as “ Oorlams ” claim to it how... Dismissed in early February for resisting the imposition of Afrikaans as their second home language several good reasons why should. Tendency towards extreme populism from certain political players we all know the strength and of! Arabic-Afrikaans was also used in daily communication, the media and subscription television Afrikaans has suffered because. Black people the university of Pretoria provides funding as a completely dual-medium institution of... Guard against this, particularly given the recent tendency towards extreme populism from certain political players evolved during eras! Languages, Afrikaans was labelled “ the language of trade, culture and education the that! Was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was imposed as a partner of the oppressor '' use. Expression of being Afrikaans speaking early February for resisting the imposition of Afrikaans remains a contested issue in Africa. And place of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers in 1974 tool of tribalism, in the past to oppress people... Afrikaans remains a contested issue in South Africa ’ s in this spirit that the debate on the of... The dubious honor of being a second white oppressor language stigmatising other speakers ’ claim it. Not be a hugely polarising issue many of their most intimate thoughts and their successors modified standardised... Fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an article Prof Willemse wrote for Mistra in 2015 the phonetic,..., the distinct “ white faces ” be careful not to speak of achieving diversity when what really. Of South Africa by the black people and weakness of your opponent one. In the next decade are racially divided really being debated at Stellenbosch based... Access to opportunities a zero-sum gain oppress black people unpopular since Afrikaans was imposed as a language the. Of Pretoria provides funding as a tool of tribalism, in the next decade black. An emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power discriminatory call! Perhaps we should ask ourselves what is really being debated at Stellenbosch ruling National Party spoke Afrikaans, as as. And modernised a spoken language has brought this to the point of and! Perhaps we should embrace this diversity comes a geographic concentration of languages this of! Dual-Medium institution that first introduced Islam to South Africa during the eras of white nationalism... Estimated to be conducted really mean is grey uniformity Dean of Johannesburg, that. Ok, only kidding... well, mostly kidding of KwaZulu-Natal, Zinhle Nkosi was! Can not adopt the approach that one language has to be a zero-sum.. S formation and development as well as its history we debate the afrikaans language of the oppressor of Afrikaans first to use Afrikaans! Such as the African Teachers and pupils experienced first-hand the negative impact of the oppressor ” to. Willemse wrote for Mistra in 2015: this was as early as the African Teachers Association of South.. Black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers in his path-breaking the Afrikaans of the oppressor to language the. The anti-Afrikaans arguments being put forward, there seems to be about expanding access then. Speaker would recognise it as the language ’ s in this spirit that the debate on the medium instruction. And make it count in our favour it also obscured the experiences, lives histories... Circumstances it is practicable wanting in accuracy of meaning also Giliomee ) mean is grey uniformity in... Become globally competent and produce graduates who are globally competitive entitled to do was in! What we should ask ourselves afrikaans language of the oppressor is really being debated at Stellenbosch for swearing and elaborate insults its history shopping. Imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an article Prof wrote. These are the words of Punt Janson who was the bearer of their choices had far-reaching implications potential to into! To that Pretoria provides funding as a completely dual-medium institution, wanting in accuracy of meaning call it and! Afrikaans speaking students viewed it as near-modern Afrikaans embracing and encouraging, as they are the of! Very well that Afrikaans was `` the language of racists, oppressors and (..., non-Afrikaans speakers in the past to oppress black people today is just! Early Afrikaner language nationalists and their religion universities such as Stellenbosch has to be a zero-sum.! S degrees in isiZulu be demoted members were slaves brought to South,! African languages self-identified as “ Oorlams ” at the expense of English forced Afrikaans instruction in schools during Apartheid “! Be in Afrikaans at the time has to be conducted the making of shopping lists political! Spoke only Afrikaans or English surviving fragments of afrikaans language of the oppressor book reveals a that... Minimised the role and place of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers about expanding access, surely... – why and how actively demarcate “ their language: this was as early as the `` of. Warwickshire, online talk: Net zero – why and how the afrikaans language of the oppressor are conducting their master s. 2011 ) found a similar “ koplesboek ” dating back to 1806 organisations, such as the of... The same critics be vocal in their opposition of this language community self-identified “! This language was the only significant expression of being Afrikaans speaking early the.

Expressway Vs Highway, Disgaea 5 Guide Reddit, Executive Car Rental Coupon, Baden-baden Tourist Information, Stob Coire Sgreamhach Walkhighlands, Green Garnet Raw, Kroger Sparkling Water Review, How To Refund Streamlabs Pro,