African languages 'punished'

2010-09-08 16:00

Johannesburg - Former model C schools have not done enough to develop African languages, the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb) said on Wednesday.

“We find that they offer international languages, but they make no real attempt to offer African languages,” Pansalb spokesman Sibusiso Nkosi said.

Nkosi said Pansalb was witnessing a trend in which people were punished if they exercised their constitutional right to speak their home languages in schools.

His comments followed media reports of alleged language rights violations against a Grade 11 pupil at Roosevelt High School in Johannesburg.

Luthando Nxasana was allegedly expelled from class, not allowed to write two mid-year exams, not allowed to go to the toilet, and forced to spend three school days standing in the school foyer.

She was allegedly punished because she spoke isiXhosa to a classmate on the school premises.

“We cannot continue with a situation in which African children are made to leave their African languages at the gates of learning,” Nkosi said.

He said language domination needed to be expunged from educational institutions “as quickly as possible”.

Panalb would meet Gauteng education MEC Barbara Creecy on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the Roosevelt matter.

Nkosi said this kind of problem had become common in former model C schools.