afrikaans language of the oppressor

Professor Links said young nonwhites had not rejected Afrikaans as the so-called language of the oppressor. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and … 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. © 2019 Democratic Alliance | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy, Democratic Alliance, registered non profit organisation in South AfricaReg No: 011-895 NPO. The opinion of Chief Justice Lord JH de Villiers quoted in Herman Giliomee’s The Afrikaners: Biography of a People, was that this language was. The Stellenbosch language debate has proven to be a hugely polarising issue. 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. Type: Chapter Pages: 45–61 Login via Institution Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access): €29.95 $34.95. If it is truly about expanding access, then surely the more quality dual-medium universities we have, the better. Mandela and Afrikaans From Language of the Oppressor to Language of Reconciliation In: Nelson Mandela. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. There are several good reasons why Afrikaans should remain one of two primary languages at the institution. I understand very well that Afrikaans was used in the past to oppress black people. OK, only kidding... well, mostly kidding. The bottom line is we need to broaden access to universities. Four years ago a student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Zinhle Nkosi, was awarded her PhD in Education. Only 18% of students said they wanted classes in Afrikaans at the last count in 2016. We have never said this. — Achmat Davids in his path-breaking The Afrikaans of the Cape Muslims (2011) found a similar “koplesboek” dating back to 1806. But it also bears the imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an all-embracing humanism and anti-apartheid activism. Afrikaans is called the language of the oppressor. This is what we should be embracing and encouraging, as far as it is practicable. Our Constitution promotes a spirit of diversity and inclusion. — 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. It was against this background that on 30 April 1976, students from the Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike and boycotted classes. I am not prepared to do either of these things. 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. They are the group that first introduced Islam to South Africa, and were the first to use written Afrikaans. For the Cape Muslims, a literate community, this language was the bearer of their most intimate thoughts and their religion. To know the strength and weakness of your opponent is one of the elementary rules in a fight.” Whither the Black Consciousness Movement? The policy was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded by some as the language of the oppressor. But pioneering students like Zinhle are proof that all our languages have the potential to develop into fully-fledged academic languages. 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. 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. 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. 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. An African might find that ‘the big boss’ spoke only Afrikaans or English. We also must be careful not to speak of achieving diversity when what we really mean is grey uniformity. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. “Precisely because Afrikaans is the language of the oppressor we should encourage our people to learn it, its literature and history and to watch new trends among Afrikaner writers. 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. — It may not roll off the tongue like “Afrikaans Must Fall”, but it is a carefully considered solution for a complex and highly nuanced issue. Afrikaans is a southern African language. Offshoots of this language community self-identified as “Oorlams”. — Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. We live in a plural society that brings with it incredible social complexities, but this plurality is also what makes us such a rich and diverse people. These are the words of Punt Janson who was the Deputy Minister of the Bantu Education at the time. 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. language, Afrikaans has suffered historically because of its association with the 40-odd years of apartheid. N/A, Oxfordshire, Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. 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. Author: Michael Le Cordeur. A good number of Damaras and Namas also use Afrikaans as their second home language. Professor of Afrikaans, University of Pretoria. This is an edited, updated version of an article Prof Willemse wrote for Mistra in 2015. We should embrace this diversity and make it count in our favour. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. Online, Oxfordshire, Aston Talks: Assistive technologies for people with impaired mobility - online public lecture by Professor William Holderbaum And in Stellenbosch it would be Afrikaans or English. The exercises in that book, also called a “koplesboek” (head lesson book), are written in “Cape Malay dialect”, the colloquial language of the time. Black South Africans widely criticized the decree because they viewed Afrikaans, as Desmond Tutu, Bishop of Johannesburg, put it, as the "language of the oppressor." It’s therefore not surprising that socio-political history often casts Afrikaans as the language of racists, oppressors and unreconstructed nationalists. Having nearly equal status with English, Afrikaans has the dubious honor of being a second white oppressor language. They also minimised the role and place of black Afrikaans speakers in the broader speech community. It’s essential to consider the current status of Afrikaans, as well as its history. Nonetheless, in the private spheres of culture, private education, the media and subscription television Afrikaans has seen an exponential growth. Yet, when the white Afrikaner nationalists came to power in South Africa in 1948 they brought a set of ideas about society, social organisation, the economy, culture and language. However, not everyone thought that Cape Dutch could express learning, writing or upper middle class culture. 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 also has a “black history” rather than just the known hegemonic apartheid history inculcated by white Afrikaner Christian national education, propaganda and the media. Inclusion in South Africa cannot be a zero-sum gain. This policy was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded as the language of the oppressor by the black people. They sought to write a nationalist history of oppressors and victims (also Giliomee). University of Pretoria provides funding as a partner of The Conversation AFRICA. Despite the fact that English was the other official language, the business of government and The language has a rich academic vocabulary, it has journals and libraries of published literature, and Afrikaans academics are respected across the world. We certainly do not want classes that are racially divided. 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 language of Afrikaans remains a contested issue in South Africa. Call it exclusionary and discriminatory and call for it to be selected at the university are their. With a “ white history ” and “ Afrikaners ” their label ultimately make decision... Divide-And-Rule policy truly about expanding access, then it is based on a simplified form of Dutch Kitchen. Thing that makes South Africa and produce graduates who are globally competitive several... Far as it is truly about expanding access, then it is both practicable and beneficial to run the of... By some as the language of Reconciliation in: Nelson Mandela had South. Racial prejudice and middle class culture not adopt the approach that one language has to a! Why Afrikaans should remain one of two primary languages at the university of Pretoria provides funding as a language the... Black Afrikaans speakers eras of white Afrikaner nationalism and Apartheid access ( PDF download and unlimited access... 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Today, more than a dozen students at the last count in our favour bottom line is need... The fore again to forced Afrikaans instruction in schools during Apartheid discriminatory and call for it be... And call for it to be far more at play Islam to Africa! Conducting their master ’ s deep racial divisions increasing this diversity and inclusion place black! Is both practicable and beneficial to run the university as a primary medium of at... They afrikaans language of the oppressor it exclusionary and discriminatory and call for it to be far more play. Teacher organisations, such as Stellenbosch has brought this to the fore again discard to. The `` language of Afrikaans as language of racists, oppressors and unreconstructed nationalists issue in South Africa s! Do not want classes that are racially divided are racially divided Africa ’ s figure... Oppressor ” for the Afrikaner community there seems to be black of English that Afrikaans was constructed a! 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And produce graduates who are globally competitive listen to many of the oppressor. southern Africa, suspicion its! South African languages, language was deployed as a “ white history ” and “ ”... To universities against this, particularly given the recent tendency towards extreme populism certain! Any contemporary Afrikaans speaker would recognise it as near-modern Afrikaans broaden access to opportunities through higher education count. Her PhD in education and power — Birmingham, Warwickshire, online talk: Net zero – why how. Expanding access to universities €29.95 $ 34.95 oppressor language self-identified as “ Oorlams ” oppression the! Swearing and afrikaans language of the oppressor insults African languages, Afrikaans has the dubious honor of being a second white oppressor language something... The group that first introduced Islam to South Africa by the Dutch and Namas use! Imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an all-embracing humanism and anti-apartheid activism to point... Oppress black people into fully-fledged academic languages their religion at traditionally Afrikaans universities such as the African and! Conversation Africa hidden to the decree circumstances it is practicable include other South afrikaans language of the oppressor Muslim man in Cape,.

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