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afrikaans language of the oppressor

— Author: Michael Le Cordeur. 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. 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. One gets the sense that, for many, this is not just about removing Afrikaans from Stellenbosch, but from wider society. It was derided by the upper classes of the Cape Colony, be they Dutch or English-speaking. This is not something you discard simply to appease those who happen to shout the loudest. This policy was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded as the language of the oppressor by the black people. Would they call it exclusionary and discriminatory and call for it to be demoted? However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. This way, no one would be denied the opportunity to study at any given university because of their language. The DA’s position on Afrikaans at Stellenbosch is based on inclusivity, diversity and increased access to opportunities. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. The policy was deeply unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded by some as the language of the oppressor. Over the better part of a century, Afrikaans has developed into a highly capable academic language in fields that range from arts and the humanities, to complex science and medicine. And in Stellenbosch it would be Afrikaans or English. I understand very well that Afrikaans was used in the past to oppress black people. Afrikaans is a southern African language. However, being ‘nearly’ equal is a point of contention for the Afrikaner people and Afrikaans speakers. Like several other South African languages, Afrikaans is a cross-border language spanning sizeable communities of speakers in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. 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’s in this spirit that the debate on the medium of instruction at universities such as Stellenbosch has to be conducted. Type: Chapter Pages: 45–61 Login via Institution Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access): €29.95 $34.95. Afrikaans is called the language of the oppressor. Myles Allen, Kaya Axelsson, Sam Fankhauser & Steve Smith in conversation They sought to write a nationalist history of oppressors and victims (also Giliomee). 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. Nonetheless, in the private spheres of culture, private education, the media and subscription television Afrikaans has seen an exponential growth. He also went on to bemoan the existence of Die Stem in the national anthem, causing controversy in the chambers: But this must always happen alongside, and not at the expense of English. N/A, Oxfordshire, Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. The impact was the point of ignition for the Soweto uprising in 1976 and along with it, suspicion of its speakers. 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. 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. Only 18% of students said they wanted classes in Afrikaans at the last count in 2016. To give some historical perspective: this was as early as the second British occupation of the Cape Colony. I am not prepared to do either of these things. The Cape Malay community’s earliest members were slaves brought to South Africa by the Dutch. In Durban this would be isiZulu or English. Afrikaans, the official language during South Africa’s Apartheid era, often occupies a politicised space as the ‘ colonial ’ language of the White Afrikaner oppressor. Rather than viewing Afrikaans through a single lens it is today acknowledged as an amalgam consisting of a variety of expressions, speakers and histories. The controversy over the medium of instruction at traditionally Afrikaans universities such as Stellenbosch has brought this to the fore again. Four years ago a student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Zinhle Nkosi, was awarded her PhD in Education. Yet Afrikaans has a multifaceted nature, numerically dominated by its black speakers. The racial prejudice and middle class bias underlying many of their choices had far-reaching implications. This is meant to be about expanding access to opportunities through higher education. It’s a figure that will by all indications increase significantly in the next decade. The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations. Arabic-Afrikaans was also used in daily communication, the making of shopping lists and political pamphlets. However, not everyone thought that Cape Dutch could express learning, writing or upper middle class culture. 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. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. This a very slippery slope. Offshoots of this language community self-identified as “Oorlams”. The bottom line is we need to broaden access to universities. These nationalist culture brokers suppressed oppositional and alternative thought within the Afrikaner community. It would be to his advantage to know both languages". 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. The language of the oppressor. In these circumstances it is both practicable and beneficial to run the university as a completely dual-medium institution. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and … 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. We also must be careful not to speak of achieving diversity when what we really mean is grey uniformity. The GRA sought to actively demarcate “their language” to the point of diminishing and stigmatising other speakers’ claim to it. I think we all know the answer to that. Mandela and Afrikaans From Language of the Oppressor to Language of Reconciliation In: Nelson Mandela. 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. 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. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. Moreover, lacking fluency in Afrikaans, African teachers and pupils experienced first-hand the negative impact of the new policy in the classroom. Right up front, I would like to make my own, and the Democratic Alliance’s position clear, because this has been repeatedly misrepresented over the past two weeks. This is an edited, updated version of an article Prof Willemse wrote for Mistra in 2015. Doggedly, these early Afrikaner language nationalists and their successors modified, standardised and modernised a spoken language. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. There are several good reasons why Afrikaans should remain one of two primary languages at the institution. Our Constitution promotes a spirit of diversity and inclusion. In this case, written in Arabic script. The Stellenbosch language debate has proven to be a hugely polarising issue. It is based on a simplified form of Dutch called Kitchen Dutch and is useful mainly for swearing and elaborate insults. It’s therefore not surprising that socio-political history often casts Afrikaans as the language of racists, oppressors and unreconstructed nationalists. South Africa is a diverse society. For the Cape Muslims, a literate community, this language was the bearer of their most intimate thoughts and their religion. — Despite the fact that English was the other official language, the business of government and It was the language of the rulers of this period, the Afrikaners, and became known during the years of struggle against this system as "the language of the oppressor". 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. poor in the number of its words, weak in its inflections, wanting in accuracy of meaning. 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. Afrikaans is a creole language that evolved during the 19th century under colonialism in southern Africa. But Afrikaans today is not the enemy, and neither are those who speak it. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and … — Birmingham, Birmingham, The Large Hadron Collider and the Hidden Universe Online talk: Net zero – why and how? Along with this diversity comes a geographic concentration of languages. This is what we should be embracing and encouraging, as far as it is practicable. 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. 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. The film reclaims and liberates Afrikaans from its reputation as the language of the oppressor, taking it back to the people who own it. the Afrikaans population it was consistently received with hostility as an oppressor, and, from the time the National Party came to power in 1948, Afrikaans became the openly-favoured language. But perhaps we should ask ourselves what is really being debated at Stellenbosch. Afrikaans is called the language of the oppressor. The language has a rich academic vocabulary, it has journals and libraries of published literature, and Afrikaans academics are respected across the world. Having nearly equal status with English, Afrikaans has the dubious honor of being a second white oppressor language. However, it also obscured the experiences, lives and histories of black and non-nationalist Afrikaans speakers. 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 live in a global society and it is crucial that our universities become globally competent and produce graduates who are globally competitive. Many South Africans of every hue have contributed to the language’s formation and development. 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. Since members of the ruling National Party spoke Afrikaans, black students viewed it as the "language of the oppressor." Teacher organisations, such as the African Teachers Association of South Africa, objected to the decree. 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. To know the strength and weakness of your opponent is one of the elementary rules in a fight.” Whither the Black Consciousness Movement? This way, a student in Potchefstroom would have a choice of her likely mother tongue, Setswana, and English. 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. 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. Apart from the phonetic spelling, any contemporary Afrikaans speaker would recognise it as near-modern Afrikaans. Birmingham, Warwickshire, Online talk: Net zero – why and how? They also minimised the role and place of black Afrikaans speakers in the broader speech community. 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. Today six in 10 of the almost seven million Afrikaans speakers in South Africa are estimated to be black. OK, only kidding... well, mostly kidding. 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. “Afrikaans” became their linguistic vehicle and “Afrikaners” their label. Today, more than two decades into a democratic South Africa, Afrikaner nationalism has been severely diminished and along with it the standing of Afrikaans in the public sector. It was spoken by peasants, the urban proletariat whatever their ethnic background and even the middle class of civil servants, traders and teachers. They declared their own version of Cape Dutch as prestige “Burger Afrikaans”, the distinct “white man’s language”. A South African Muslim man in Cape Town, South Africa. Images of the 1976 Soweto uprising are invoked. Professor Links said young nonwhites had not rejected Afrikaans as the so-called language of the oppressor. We certainly do not want classes that are racially divided. Inclusion in South Africa cannot be a zero-sum gain. Under apartheid, language was deployed as a tool of tribalism, in the service of this divide-and-rule policy. 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. Along with this diversity comes a geographic concentration of languages. Achmat Davids in his path-breaking The Afrikaans of the Cape Muslims (2011) found a similar “koplesboek” dating back to 1806. It is more important to side with (and protect) the Constitution than to bow to the will of those who make the most noise. 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. This a very slippery slope. Like so many debates these days, Twitter hashtags and protest slogans have reduced the issue to a binary “for” and “against” choice. 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 Genootskap van Regte Afrikaanders (GRA, the Society of True Afrikaners), established in 1875, actively sought to foster a nationalism among white Cape Dutch speakers. 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." They will ultimately make their decision, as they are entitled to do. A school board there was dismissed in early February for resisting the imposition of Afrikaans. 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. She had completed this, along with subsequent peer-reviewed papers in isiZulu, despite a lack of research methodology, academic papers and other literature in the language. If increasing this diversity results in more graduates, more PhDs and more research papers, then it is surely a good thing. It is critical that we guard against this, particularly given the recent tendency towards extreme populism from certain political players. Today, more than a dozen students at the university are conducting their master’s degrees in isiZulu. We cannot adopt the approach that one language has to be selected at the expense of another. 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. 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. Afrikaans lectures at Stellenbosch are likened to forced Afrikaans instruction in schools during Apartheid. We have never said this. Desmond Tutu, bishop of Lesotho and later Dean of Johannesburg, stated that Afrikaans was "the language of the oppressor". But when you listen to many of the anti-Afrikaans arguments being put forward, there seems to be far more at play. 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. Online, Oxfordshire, Aston Talks: Assistive technologies for people with impaired mobility - online public lecture by Professor William Holderbaum 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. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. One gets the sense that, for many, this is not just about removing Afrikaans from Stellenbosch, but from wider society. Would the same critics be vocal in their opposition of this language as a primary medium of instruction? 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. But it also bears the imprint of a fierce tradition of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, of an all-embracing humanism and anti-apartheid activism. These are the words of Punt Janson who was the Deputy Minister of the Bantu Education at the time. An African might find that ‘the big boss’ spoke only Afrikaans or English. Should it be in Afrikaans, English, a combination, or a hybrid which will include other South African 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" The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. 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. Professor of Afrikaans, University of Pretoria. 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”. 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. Last year, he said, more than … 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. The exercises in that book, also called a “koplesboek” (head lesson book), are written in “Cape Malay dialect”, the colloquial language of the time. But I will not get drawn into this type of populism contest. 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". If it is truly about expanding access, then surely the more quality dual-medium universities we have, the better. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. They are the group that first introduced Islam to South Africa, and were the first to use written Afrikaans. If you do not support the simplified majoritarian and politically correct view, then you are vilified as anti-transformation, pro-privilege, and even racist. The Eastern Cape has a majority of isiXhosa speakers, in KZN it is isiZulu, in the Free State it is Sesotho and so on. A good number of Damaras and Namas also use Afrikaans as their second home language. 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. The language of Afrikaans remains a contested issue in South Africa. I was forced to study Afrikaans at school. 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. 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. Indeed, Afrikaans has a violent and racist history of oppression during the eras of White Afrikaner nationalism and Apartheid. It was when Shaka was only a young man of 19 on the verge of his evolution to a notable military leader, great Zulu king and conqueror. In a disastrous policy decision, Afrikaans was imposed as a language of instruction on black, non-Afrikaans speakers in 1974. Add … 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? The 1994 Consensus, and the vision that Nelson Mandela had for South Africa, was about embracing diversity and building diverse institutions. A Given the demographics of the Western Cape and the history of Stellenbosch, it is “reasonably practicable” to receive instruction in Afrikaans there. — The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. The slogan was rightly an emotive, visceral response to Afrikaner ethnic, nationalist hegemony and its concomitant coercive state power. The debate over Afrikaans rises from South Africa’s deep racial divisions. The Eastern Cape has a majority of isiXhosa speakers, in KZN it is isiZulu, in the Free State it is Sesotho and so on. Angela Saini - Race, Gender and Power 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. They played a major role in its establishment as the language of trade, culture and education. On June 16, 1976 students took to the streets to protest a government decree that they be taught only in Afrikaans, which they derisively called “the language of the oppressor.” Soweto, 1976 Afrikaans is called the language of the oppressor. language, Afrikaans has suffered historically because of its association with the 40-odd years of apartheid. 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. Afrikaans was labelled “the language of the oppressor”. University of Pretoria provides funding as a partner of The Conversation AFRICA. Afrikaans was labelled 'the language of the oppressor'. It features musical greats Jitsvinger, Kyle Shepard, Emile (black noise), Moenier Adamas, Shane Cooper, Blaq Pearl, the powerhouse b-boy, Bliksemstraal, and the poetic genius of Jethro Louw. Also, that their worldview was the only significant expression of being Afrikaans speaking. 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. © 2019 Democratic Alliance | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy, Democratic Alliance, registered non profit organisation in South AfricaReg No: 011-895 NPO. Today the surviving fragments of that book reveals a history that somehow remains hidden to the vast majority of South Africans. We should embrace this diversity and make it count in our favour. — Ringo Madlingozi, one of the party’s newly-elected members, raised the point that Afrikaans is “the language of the oppressor”. We would do well to reflect on this as we debate the use of Afrikaans as language of instruction at the University of Stellenbosch. Afrikaans was constructed as a “white language”, with a “white history” and “white faces”. 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. For them Afrikaans was “a pure Germanic language” of “purity, simplicity, brevity and vigour” (quoted in Giliomee). One thing that makes South Africa’s situation interesting is Afrikaans. 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. 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. “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. This is the inscription on the pathway that leads up to the Afrikaans Taalmonument (‘Afrikaans Language Monument’) in Paarl, South Africa. 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