Make African language 'a requirement'

2011-09-16 22:27

Pretoria - Speaking, reading and writing an indigenous African language should be considered a prerequisite for tertiary education, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Friday.

He was disappointed at the slow progress in the "development of African languages as languages of scholarship" at the country's universities.

In a speech prepared for delivery at a meeting of the African languages advisory panel, Nzimande made suggestions on how to ensure indigenous African languages could become languages of instruction in higher education.

"We must explore the feasibility and possibility of promoting and making it a requirement that all South African students in higher education must be able to speak/read/write at least one African indigenous language."

There would also be a need to consider "the implications of this for teaching and usage of African languages in our entire education system".

Nzimande said the higher education policy on languages acknowledged South Africa's linguistic diversity.

"Contrary to the general perception, the policy recognises the retention of Afrikaans as a language of [academia]. It acknowledges the value and contribution of Afrikaans [and English]."

However, the policy was also clear that the two languages should not be "used as barrier to access for those students who are not first language speakers of these languages".

He said policies on languages needed to be reviewed.

Nzimande urged the panel to look at strengthening African language departments in universities.

It should also examine obstacles in the publishing industry to the development and usage of African languages, he said.

  • Fransiena - 2011-09-16 22:30

    This is a wonderful idea, coming from an Afrikaans background. AMEN

      Thandiwe83 - 2011-09-16 22:43

      They need to fund tertiary education properly first.

      Yoni - 2011-09-16 22:45

      Yes, wunderbar! I just went to the CNA and could not find ANY "indigenous" language books, not one. Since "they" immigrated here in the 1600's from the Great Lakes region, why are they considered more indigenous than Afrikaans?

      angie - 2011-09-16 22:58

      Please motivate!

      Gomez - 2011-09-16 23:12

      The education system should be able to provide education in all languages but one should not be forced to be schooled in or learn a certain language,that should always be up to the individual.

      rasklot - 2011-09-16 23:22

      Blade, a basic grounding in a black language while in primary school is acceptable. This means you can communicate with others in terms of being "polite" and "accepted" within the region you live. I learnt Xhosa, as do my kids at school now. However, when I left SA for good 11 years ago I had on eopportunity only once to speak Xhosa to a door man at a Ritz Carlton recently. That why my kids take French, along with English, Afrikaans and Xhosa so at least when they finish school and leave SA they can understand some Dutch and have another international language that can help get them ahead in life. Blade, rather focus on the sciences and mathematics, this is where the problem lay. Being forced to speak, read and write Xhosa cannot even get you employed as a translator.

      ccillie - 2011-09-16 23:26

      I totally agree with you @Fransiena (I myself are also Afrikaans speaking), it's important for us to learn an "indigenous" language but i don't think it should be compulsory. as @Yoni pointed out, Afrikaans is also a language indigenous to southern Africa and coming from an English school in Durban, that English was first language and the compulsory second language was a choice between Zulu and Afrikaans. Naturally Zulu speaking students took Zulu and the rest took Afrikaans, but we all had a choice to do either. Being in university and wanting to go into the medical field especially it is important to learn an (for lack of a better word) "indigenous" language too, even if it's just rudimentary, because statistically speaking, the majority of people in the more impoverished arias are African people where most of them can't speak English and where most medical students do their internships. It just helps with communication. If you can communicate with people, they will learn to trust you quicker.

      ccillie - 2011-09-16 23:27

      Haha sorry I am also, not I are- Afrikaans moment:)

      nvl - 2011-09-17 07:54

      @Fransiena I agree! :) Swahili would be the best! I think Swahili should become like English for all the African countries south of the Equator. That would be the first step toward unification of Southern Africa. I don't know why SADC haven't thought of it yet? Maybe it is on their agenda...who knows?

      WHITEPRIDE - 2011-09-17 07:55

      @ Fransiena & CCcille, you both are the on two rational thinkers. I personally have been saying this for years, instead of making it a English and Afrikaans the Only two compulsory languages at school, allow the student to choose if he wants to learn Afrikaans or English by allowing an African language, when my son was in high school i wanted him to learn Zulu instead of Afrikaans, there was no such thing, in this country today Zulu or an African Language at that is more beneficial to know, understand and express than Afrikaans, I know as per usual the Afrikaans bigots will come out guns blazing about my comments, but facts are facts

      Brigitte - 2011-09-17 08:14

      It is proven that ones ability to learn a new languaege diminishes rapidly after primary school age. I would have liked my children to learn Zulu but after having 4 Zulu teachers in under 2 years the school gave up! Also, not all schools can afford a teacher who is only there to teach one subject at primary level - most primary teachers multi-teach so to speak! To say that an African language be a pre-requisite of entrance to tertiary education is facile. Anyway, a history lesson here - black tribes moved down into the eastern coastal parts of SA during the 15/16 hundreds. White settlers moved up from the western Cape during the 16 hundreds. The original inhabitants of SA were the Khoisan peoples and both lots of 'colonialists' pretty much wiped them out. So - Afrikaans and English are actually African languages just as much as Zulu - if that is what was spoken 4 hundred years ago by the migrants moving south! If you watch African news, many ordinary people from Rwanda, Ghana, Somalia etc speak beautiful english or french - there are very few subtitles on the African news channels - not like the SABC. Oops - this was very long - go the Bokke!

      Geraldo Mc phu - 2011-09-17 08:50

      @nvl May ask who speaks Swahili in SA except for a few foreigners ? If you yourself can still not speak an African Language in your area how easy is it going to be for you or your kids to learn this Swahili of yours .Considering the fact that after a million years you still cannot understand the basics of any SA indegenous language @ everyone who opposes the Minister's suggestion :Remember you are the first to complain when you are not included in the name an "African" yet you oppose exactly what would make you a fully fledged one , huh ?

      emile.eley - 2011-09-17 11:16

      I agree Fransiena. I myself do not speak an indigenous language and am the poorer for it. I plan to change that soon. Your attitude gives me great hope for the future as I had been very depressed by some of the postings on this forum. God Bless.

      nvl - 2011-09-17 12:48

      @Geraldo Mc phu - You may.. no one that's the problem. Swahili is one of the most common African languages and it is spoken in many African countries. It is, in fact, far more useful than Xhosa or Zulu, if South Africa is the 'gateway' to the rest of Africa, then Swahili is the most logical choice. Not only will it break down language barriers between our African neighbours but it will also improve ties with the Arab world.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-09-17 13:33

      @Rob - You are pathetic and the fact that there are so many thumbs up next to your name is quite scary. @Emile - Yes we all should learn to speak an African Language and i do believe they should push it everywhere but i can't be a "must"... Our education is in shambles, now they want to bring in politically motivated propaganda to further some politician's career rather than fixing the education system first and then brining in concepts like extending the boundaries of tertiary language. Our government is starting to sound more and more like a third reich. Politicians thinking their blood is holy.

      Boeretroos - 2011-09-17 22:24

      Blade and blip - You both like to talk trash, think like hooligans and are most probably hooligans. African language - verbeel jou. Se moer !

      DoublySalmon - 2011-09-17 23:32

      Science and maths - so few black students pass it on higher grade, one in six thousand actually. The focus should be on English, maths and science because only one in six thousand black matrics is employable. In my old school the maths teacher gave FREE extra classes after school, which meant I missed buses and had to walk home. Surprisingly in a 94% black school only white kids actually went to these extra free classes. Afrikaans is an African language, it is the most widely spoken and understood African language, it has a strong foundation academics and literature already. Black languages don't even have words for modern concepts, case and point basic standard 6 geometry. Anyway, if you want to see your child grow up in a racist country, with a bad education system, where he will learn to speak Zulu and move to the Cape where it is not spoken.. then South Africa is for you.

      Francois - 2011-09-18 08:43

      Firstly the honourable Minister must recognise that Afrikaans is an indigenous African language. Secondly, Afrikaans found itself pretty much in the same position 100 years ago as what the other 9 indigineous languages find themselves in at present. Afrikaans was also forced onto some others which to the detriment of the language made it a political tool, however, Afrikaans speaking people designed and evolved the language so that one can at present write for example a thesis on nuclear physics completely in Afrikaans. The development of a language is the responsibiliy of the speakers thereof. To force a language that does not have even closely the scientific and academic terms required for university subjects, may just lead to another 1976 uprising. Then people of South African let us, for example buy products with our languages on it. No need why Coca cola must have only English labels.

      Gazza69 - 2011-09-19 08:48

      (Yawn!) I work in commerce and English is spoken both here and internationally..... Learning an African language ,whilst interesting, is of no use in the grand scheme of things. So why make it compulsory? Why not learn Russian as well Blade, since you are a communist!

  • John - 2011-09-16 22:33

    What a load of bull - concentrate on one language. English is the worldwide language that business is transacted on....not Xhosa. What the hell will being fluent in Xhosa, help in the business sector ? Rather put that subject to better use, and make ecconomics or business economics compulsory. WTH is wrong with these ninkinpoops, this country is headed one way with their logic.

      Harvey - 2011-09-16 23:29

      Relax. The ANC lacks the ability to implement new concepts. The only departments to ever start and implement a new initiative was SARS under Trevor and the trafffic dept. back in Nelsons day. Name one concept actually implemented by Thabo or Zuma which affected your life? All the current ANC can do is pass laws (which the CC will remove) and talk about things. Thankfully they can't enforce the laws or actually do anything. They made this speach six months ago. They will make it again in another six months. That being said, speaking isixhosa to the people I work with (though poorly) shows respect to them and that goes a long way. I'm sure I'll be shot down in flames for daring to suggest it.

      ccillie - 2011-09-16 23:31

      Well, Africa and especially southern Africa is ripe with business. A lot of countries like America, England, Norway etc. are investing in Africa because of our natural resources. If you're fluent in a local language they will be more likely to hire you in a top position, or pay you a sh1tload of cash to be mediator/translator...

      Harvey - 2011-09-17 00:24

      myancmyfutur As i said, what have Thabo and Zuma done. 1. Affimative Action - Nelson's time. Also announced as a failure recently by senior anc officials. 2. BEE - See tenderpreneurs and Malema's impending court case. BEE helped five rich balck guys become five super-rich black guys. Congrats. 3 Successful change of number plates - Nelsons time & traffic dept as mentioned. 4. Procurement of arms to protect us - Seriously? See the arms Deal scandal - New investigation just announced yesterday . 5. ARV's availabitlity - Seriously? - After the beeetroot incident, the anc being taken to court and loosing, then reluctantly executing the court mandate. The shower event? The HIV-doesn't-cause-aids speaches? 6. World cup hosting - I will give you this one. Though it was managed by foreigners and the stadiums are heavy burdens on rate payers and tax payers. 7. Intergration of society except Orania and Western Cape - Really? Look around you - Do you see much integration taking place right now? In Nelsons time yes. Right now the anc is pulling the country apart. And propogating racial divides for their own nefarious purposes. 8. Successful disbanding of scorpions - Which was recently declared to be unconstitutional and the hawks have to become what the scorpions where. 9. Banning of De La Rey song - It's not banned. Its not even declared as hate speach. 10.Successful removal of apartheid symbols - Nelson's time and you missed a few. As I said, after Nelson, nothing.

      Kleinjan - 2011-09-17 00:47

      HARVEY 1 GP? Please tell me it's yours!?

      Spade - 2011-09-17 03:19

      I agree John. The world does business in English, not Zulu or Xhosa. Malema has already admitted Pedi's vocabulary is limited, so that won't do anyway. @myancmyfutur - It would sound you are extremely frustrated right now. It is understandable though, as it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the current ANC regime. Its laughable that a minister is deemed "strong" if she wastes R200,000 tax payer's money, when we all know she would roll over like a puppy had it been her own pocket.

      SAtoStay - 2011-09-17 07:24

      This kind of thinking is leading to a world without any culture. If you want Africa's business, don't think of it's people or it's languages as ninkinpoops. And this is from an Afrikaans person with the utmost sympathy for the cause of other African languages.

      Blikskottel - 2011-09-17 08:40

      I would much rather let my kids leanr Spanish or French, as these languages are much more usefull in the world.

      myancmyfutur - 2011-09-17 08:50

      @ Spade Your argument of the R 200 000 are misplaced, I don't know what does it had to do with this topic. @ Radarplip The learning of an african will teach you wisdom and assist you in debating. Look at how easily you diverted all of you from the topic and if you knew one language you would stick to the topic. I would like to give credit to Hellen Zille as she is fluent in Xhosa and am sure she's going to support the advancement of her subjects

      buzz - 2011-09-19 08:32

      Imagine the size of the thinktank they will need to sit and figure out what to call all the new words that they don't have words for? You can't sommer chuck an 'i' in front of everything, otherwise you may as well still use english innit!

  • Bart Zimzon - 2011-09-16 22:33

    yes, pedi or xhosa or even zulu will give you a major advantage of doing business in the world outside Seffrica. 4sure

      Kleinjan - 2011-09-17 00:41

      LOL! How many devices can you build in the next two weeks? Answer: Tsepedi.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:22

      Most businesspeople don't do business overseas. They sell to, and buy from real people they meet every day and who speak their own language.

      jbjoe - 2011-09-17 18:25

      lol blip, if you live in the townships maybe...but thats micky mouse stuff my friend

      Blip - 2011-09-17 19:32

      Township or not, that is where that businessman earns his profits. And Germans conduct business in German, Japanese in Japanese etc. Most business is conducted locally, in the local language.

      Tim Rogers - 2011-09-17 21:53

      yeah i guess you're right Bart. i think it would be good to learn an african language, but then also learn a more globally accepted one like spanish, french etc. you dont see American school kids learning zulu..

      Alpahbrutus - 2011-09-18 10:37

      @Blip And what happens when a Venda businessman has to buy from an Afrikaans one or vice versa? That's why we have a lingua franca (English) so you are not limited by language. If you are doing business with your own "culture", you will most probably will know the language anyway, so why force people to learn a language if they don't want to.

      cookEmonster - 2011-09-19 08:10

      Blip.."real people"? As opposed to what? Fake people? Aliens?

      Blip - 2011-09-19 08:40

      That Venda business buyer in all likelihood can speak Venda, Afrikaans and, perhaps, a little English. Without making a big fuss about it.

  • crackerr - 2011-09-16 22:43

    Blade Nzimande is being spiteful. He hates whites and wants to punish them. You need only one language of record, if not official language, in this country and that is English. If you prefer to speak any other language or insist on being spoken to in a particular language, that is your right and you may use interpreters. But what goes on official record should be English. By the way, anybody who wishes to rely on interpreters are bound to find out that is was a mistake. At least with English as the common official language we should only need to learn one language to be able to understand each other first hand and to know first hand what goes on record, for example in court proceedings. If one wishes to learn extra languages, wonderful. But do so voluntarily. Many people are not good at learning languages. It will be an unnecessary and wasteful requirement to demand it of them as a condition to continue with tertiary education. Some even struggle with their home languages. Blade Nzimande has a fixation about pushing punitive measures down others throats. He will never let go of his obsession to push whites out of the economy. If he can use language to do so he will.

      Chris - 2011-09-16 23:11

      What language will it be? I still retain a smattering of Sotho. Will the Blade's decide on one of the nine 'African" languages available our country? Somehow I suspect that maybe the JWB had something to do with this statement. Oh yes JWB = Johny Walker Blue.

      Xavier - 2011-09-16 23:39

      @myancmyfutur waste money to learn a language that won't benefit me at all is a punishment, I can use that money to do my MBA, or invest it somewhere and if I must learn a language I would rather learn French or Spanish as most of my business is done in these countries, and I will actually benefit from it. If I must learn their language then they must learn afr, remember, afr is not seen as indigenous to South Africa. I have better things to spend my money on, instead of wasting it to learn an indigenous language from which I will not benefit.

      crackerr - 2011-09-17 09:01

      @ SAtoStay No. You miss the entire argument. You are now advocating what amounts to reciprocal punishment. Think it through. Compare apples with apples. The mere fact that English is available as a convenient, practical, and sensible compromise is not the fault of anybody that warrants punishment. As pointed out somewhere else on this page, the ability to learn languages diminishes rapidly after primary school. In addition, language abilities differ. Enough said.

      PBeer - 2011-09-17 16:42

      myancmyfutur talks about learning, but looks like he doesn't actually do any learning himself, since it's University, not INUVERSITY :-D

  • Marieta - 2011-09-16 22:52

    Funny how everything here is in English ....mmmmh Ish !!

      Nogeen - 2011-09-17 07:32

      Se^ wie?

  • nuvolari - 2011-09-16 22:52

    No really, this is absurd. Most of us didn't even master our mother tongue, now they want to do this. Is dit nie waarvoor die departement van Taalkunde daar is nie? Forcing someone is bound to backfire into rebellion, resulting in unwanted outcomes.

  • angie - 2011-09-16 22:56

    This is ridiculous. Stupid in my opinion. Let me educate the honourable Mr. Blade Nzimande. Either we have to learn all seven black languages or we use English as a language. If I have to learn one of the black languages that means I can only communicate with one certain group (Zulus or Sothos or Ndebeles or Xhosas etc.) I will not be able to communicate with everyone. Why not use a little bit of logic and use a language that is recognised across the board. Who the hell does business in Zulu or Sotho or Ndebele or Xhosa? WTF happened to logic in this country! They want to run a country (In what language) To me it is a total waste of time and money to learn an African language. Make English the official language or go back to using hand signs!!!

      leonard - 2011-09-16 23:37

      @at Angie.Good one Angie.Give him hell.ALL your points are lucid and clear.A case of Bells for you.

      myancmyfutur - 2011-09-17 00:19

      I didn't see Nzimande saying you should learn so you could do business in Seswati or Ndebele. Could learning at least basics of one African language be that bad? What pain can it cause in this so called rainbow nation?

      Cynical175 - 2011-09-17 01:18

      Tijd om weg the gaan

      JasunX - 2011-09-17 05:20

      @myancmyfutur - yea bru, the day your people learn anything, then come to us, we may consider learning a few words.

      myancmyfutur - 2011-09-17 08:32

      @Jason X By learning an African language, you will not be doing anyone a favour. One of the greatest weapons that Ms Hellen Zille is the fact that she speaks fluent xhosa and that has given her a lot of respect.

  • Colin Dovey - 2011-09-16 23:01

    An American, of Indian extraction, Salman Khan, has got a better idea than Blade will EVER have regarding HIGHER EDUCATION - he is teaching MATHS, SCIENCE etc in a RADICAL way via the Khan Academy, to the extent that Bill Gates is now funding him! What is more, it is FREE - This bunch do not have a clue - learning a language at University level is VERY NICE, BUT it is NOT going to put FOOD on the table - JOBS will. He is living in cloud cuckoo land, and pontificating to the clouds.

      leonard - 2011-09-16 23:38

      @Colin. See comments @Angie.A case for you as well.

      Durbsdude - 2011-09-17 13:57

      Colin you do actually make sense once in a while..

  • Casie - 2011-09-16 23:04

    Great idea! Completely in line with idea of creating as many unemployable as possible. Viva ANC!

      angie - 2011-09-16 23:14

      You know Casie, this is so in line with what I do. I work for for a personnel agency, and not one of my clients has ever asked me for someone that can speak Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho, Zulu or Pedi. They ask me for people that can speak English and Afrikaans. I get so much satisfaction if they phone me and if I ask them: Can you speak English and Afrikaans they say NO! Then I just tell them I can not help them.

      Harvey - 2011-09-16 23:57

      Wow Angie, you sound like a very unhappy person.

      Alpahbrutus - 2011-09-18 10:44

      Wake up Harvey! The reality is that real business is conducted in English. More than that English is the primary language for education and travel as well. I agree with Angie.

      Harvey - 2011-09-18 15:17

      Alhpabrutus, I fully agree with you on English being the standard. But to "get so much satisfaction" as angie does, from turning down people applying for jobs is twisted.

      Blip - 2011-09-19 08:43

      75% of business in SA is transacted in any language OTHER than English.

  • za101 - 2011-09-16 23:07

    Blade is trying to follow Kwame Nkramah, the 1st leader of independent Ghana. His policies on the economy was so bad, that people of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea who had similar standards of living to Ghana around the time of Ghana's independence are now many times better off. Blade is trying to make South Africa like Bangladesh, permanently poor. Only way to have a better life is to leave their countries.

      crackerr - 2011-09-16 23:27

      It is difficult to imagine how Nzimande thinks the economy will benefit. All transactions that I am aware of in our daily life are being done in English. The Pakistani shop owner and the Nigerian national for example converse in English. The Portuguese and the Afrikaans speaker green grocer for example. This is nothing more than the symptoms of a grudge against certain sections of this country and the economic system. He wants whites out of the economy. They are not his dream communist material. He wants the universities to limit entrance to certain people in this country and give unlimited entrance to certain other groups so he can finally control the tertiary institutions through his communist structures. We are not all fools.

  • Doublepost - 2011-09-16 23:09

    Didn't they march in 1976 because Apartheid was "forcing" them to learn Afrikaans? What makes this so different? The ANC are really making fools of themselves now. Also, quick question, does Afrikaans count, since it IS an African language?

      Xavier - 2011-09-16 23:59

      lol, no afrikaans is not an african language and never will be,you can write that on your stomach...o btw, afrikaans is my 1ste taal. afrikaans word internasionaal as europees geklassifiseer. Gaan soek dit op......hier is bietjie hulp: (o, en doen jouself 'n guns en lees ook op hoe tale geklassifiseer word en wanneer 'n taal as inheems beskou word en wanneer uitheems. Indo-European -Germanic -West Germanic -Low Franconian -Dutch -Afrikaans

      myancmyfutur - 2011-09-17 00:14

      @ Doublepost In 1976, we were being taught all subjects in Afrikaans, not being taught Afrikaans as a subject

      myancmyfutur - 2011-09-17 08:29

      Jason X Uyabhibhidla so I wont respond to that

      emile.eley - 2011-09-17 11:36

      Who the hell is "they"? You should really stop being so divisive. Evidently you haven't been in the same zip code as a history book for some time. Stop acting like the great intellectual which you obviously are not.

  • crackerr - 2011-09-16 23:10

    @ anc Of course it can be a punishment. Punishment can take many different and subtle forms. In this instance however the punishment is even worse in that it is aimed at making it unnecessary difficult for certain people to qualify for further education and that without any commensurate benefit to them or the country. By the way, why do we in this country have a totally watered down subject for maths if it is so easy and natural for all to just study a subject and do well in it or even pass? Let people pass the languages they are comfortable in and don't waste time and useless effort on excursions for ulterior motives.

  • Hari Seldon - 2011-09-16 23:10

    Brilliant idea! It's about time...

  • Chris - 2011-09-16 23:14

    Which one of the nine languages will it be? Will Blade be allowed to decide? In any event is the cost in the budget?

  • nuvolari - 2011-09-16 23:15

    At this stage in my life I can only see myself becoming a polyglot... in programming. That way I can better express myself describing processes, logic and as a bonus, the ability to be hired by companies and thusly have an income. I vote they should make a programming language compulsory in tertiary education (at least it would benefit economically).

      Harvey - 2011-09-16 23:58


      JasunX - 2011-09-17 05:23

      I Vote For You My Friend. At least, when adapting, it's the only the syntax you need to decode in order to understand another code.

      Donald.P.Muller - 2011-09-17 07:07

      public class Message { public static void main (string[] args) { system.out.println("nuvolari,I like what you have to say"); } }

      john_jones - 2011-09-18 22:16

      Donald Can you get this to work please // clean up code for this mampara . . . super.finalize(malema); }

  • Verdade - 2011-09-16 23:33

    Yeah..Blade concentrate on education as a lack in many ways, drunk teachers, no books, state of schools! Duh...but you are higher education something you certainly lack! Blade, perhaps waste your time (which you have plenty of) on something constructive. Your post in the government is a complete waste of money, you being commie should know it! Why go back in the dark ages? Nowhere in the world do they use our indigenous languages,however I view as a last swipe at the apartheid - compulsary Afrikaans? Perhaps, teach them Portuguese or French, world languages and widely used in Africa. Please comrade Blade relax this weekend....don't think too much otherwise you present another weekly stupid proposal on Monday

  • Rowen - 2011-09-16 23:36

    Blade must learn AFRIKAANS then I will learn Xhosa

  • Paul Hughes - 2011-09-16 23:42

    I never understood the reason for studying Afrikaans, as much as I would never do the same for an African language.

      Ginseng - 2011-09-17 00:10

      Yep. Lets face it, English is the language of international business. All these other languages are just there so people can retain some of their culture. They have absolutely no practical use in today's global economy and will only become more insignificant in coming years. The time spent trying to learn some useless language would be better spent on learning the sciences or commanding a solid grasp of English.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 00:58

      Afrikaans -- whatever you may think of it -- is the lingua franca of almost the entire rural area of SA and two-thirds of the land mass. When I walk into a rural shop to buy a pint of milk and packet of cheese-and-onion chips, I really don't need the "international language of business". I need to speak the language THAT shopkeeper understands.

      Nicholas - 2011-09-17 02:44

      I agree. Afrikaans is not essential... but neither is any African indigenous language ie Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho, Zulu or Pedi. If an extra langauage should be on the books, then that language should be Chinese ie dialect of mandarin. There are now over 500 000 Chinese nationals living in SA - some are now South African. With the emergance of China - soon to be the super power of super powers. If imporving our economy was the main agenda then teaching chinese here would certanly improve our economic relations with the indisputable economic power house of the 21 century. Oh a side benifit is that one in four humans speak it :P

      Blip - 2011-09-19 08:46

      Afrikaans is by far the most widely spoken language in SA outside the big cities and especially across the rural areas. And particularly in the Western, Northern and Northwest Cape.

  • Stephan Janse van Vuuren - 2011-09-16 23:59

    If you study languages no problem, anything else, screw you!!

  • Eugéne - 2011-09-17 00:00

    Indigenous - belong to a region because they developed there. Afrikaans was developed in South Africa and is then as such an INDIGENOUS AFRICAN Language

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:30

      Afrikaans is simplified Dutch.

      RiRo1 - 2011-09-19 09:02

      Yes, Afrikaans is an African language and as Afrikaans speaking people, we should honor our language. But to get anywhere today, English is important, as most of business relations are in English. The learning of ex Zulu, is to show some interest on your country. It doesn't mean you should stop speaking Afrikaans. It would be a disgrace if Afrikaans aren't acknowledged by people of South Africa anymore. That would mean that no other African language are important either.

  • hakkelberry finn - 2011-09-17 00:00

    Are they going to teach afrikaans? that is an indigenous African language?

      ccillie - 2011-09-17 01:11

      @Blip Study Afrikaans as a first language and you will realise that it is a lot more than "kitchen-Dutch". Yes, what we speak everyday is not really that sophisticated but neither is the 'yo bro howzit ma china you check dat chick in the purple mini she be looking fiiiine' "kitchen-English" that english people speak everyday.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:34

      Any Hollander or Flemish Belgian has no trouble comprehending Afrikaans because it's just a dialect of their own euro-lingo. Pretending it's "African" is as dumb as Americans pretending their American is unique and separate from English.

      SLA~Q - 2011-09-18 00:04

      Wow, Blip clearly you have not met a lot of Dutch and Americans. Afrikaans is my home language and I cannot understand Dutch. I even understand when my grandfather speaks German, but not Dutch. The American English you hear on TV is a lot better than what they speak in general, it is a whole different dialect. Consider Sepedi: Sepedi is also not a language by definition. It is a dialect of Northern Sotho. People who speak Northern Sotho understand Setswana but both are regarded as two different languages.

  • Eugéne - 2011-09-17 00:00

    Indigenous - belong to a region because they developed there. Afrikaans was developed in South Africa and is then as such an INDIGENOUS AFRICAN Language

      Falcum - 2011-09-17 02:14

      lol Blip your talking nonsense if afrikaans was developed in Holland why don't they speak it there huh!? They speak dutch. People started speaking afrikaans in South Africa. I remembered learning that in History in std 3. Although Afrikaans is a daughter language of dutch it contains aspects of Malay, Portuguese, the Bantu languages, and the Khoisan languages. So yes Afrikaans was "developed" in South Africa and it is supposed to be an African language anyone with a brain would agree with that.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:35

      Nonsense. It's just kitchen Dutch.

      Sambok - 2011-09-17 10:31

      Blip you are not very clever are you? Were you perhaps educated in one of the indigenous languages?

  • BarrinWiz - 2011-09-17 00:01

    By making non indigenous african language speakers learn the language to study at a tertiary institution isn't going to improve the quality of education for indigenous african language speakers... June 16th ringing any bells (to the shoe is on the other foot club)

  • Ross - 2011-09-17 00:01

    If they're going to make us learn a language, at least make it a worthwhile language. None of this tribal crap that will give no benefit whatsoever in today's society. And not Afrikaans either, which is useless as well. Worthwhile would be: French, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Chinese. Having part of the population be able to speak one of those would boost the economy immensely. Xhosa wont get you anywhere. Afrikaans wont get you anywhere. Zulu wont get you anywhere. The worthwhile ones will get you much farther.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 01:07

      A real-live South African shopkeeper trading with real-live local customers (not imaginary, over-the-rainbow ones) will do FAR better having merely a good working command of Afrikaans than having a perfect fluent mother-tongue competency in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and/or French.

      SLA~Q - 2011-09-18 00:11

      Blip isn't that the entire concept behind learning a new language? Honestly I think with the influx of Chinese to South Africa, the probability of finding a business owner that speaks Mandarin is higher than that of an African language. Being able to communicate with a local grocery store owner is not necessary, but being able to speak the same language in a corporate merger is fundamental. English is a corporate language, Afrikaans was quite a few years ago, Spanish, French, German and Mandarin are huge internationally.

  • Ryno the Wizard - 2011-09-17 00:02

    If Afrikaans is not indigenous to SA, where else in the world is it from? Just wait until they have to transate textbooks into all languages.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 01:08

      From Holland.

  • Kleinjan - 2011-09-17 00:17

    Afrikaans is an indigenous language. Start learning.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 01:10

      Afrikaans is about as "indigenous" as rugby and cricket. (Both come from England.)

      Falcum - 2011-09-17 02:18

      Wow Blip love your posts acting like you know it all. You should run for government you will fit right in

      RiRo1 - 2011-09-19 09:12

      @Blip Why don't you try to listen to a Hollander and see if you understand him... It's different. I have a dutch friend and don't understand a word she says when she speaks her language. You can follow what she is saying by some words in the sentences, but only that. YOU won't be able to comprehend what she says, even if you understand Afrikaans. Get real dude. And Afrikaans most certainly is NOT from England... WTF... :-D

  • Legacy_Of_Pain - 2011-09-17 00:24

    white folks isnt it funny how you against learning a language when 100 percent of blacks have to learn it forcefully in order to survive in the commercial world - from an early age. You rush to calling black people uneducated- and criminals despite the financial disadvantages - a language they have to forcefully learn - and the scars of from previous government. I dont approve of what the minister is doing but if the arrogance of calling black people lazy and arrogance pessist its a cause i'll support financially and influentially. Stop mocking people who are disadvantaged compared to you and at least have an understanding heart. For someone who grew up in a black community - they cannot learn english as perfect as those who grew up with it. And dont associate ordinary black people with the hardworking "geniuses" who make it. Every race has a bunch of its own prodigy - but at least please understand and accept their disadvantaged state..stop insulting them - cos this just makes government enforce laws like BEE - land reforms - and nationalisation - to make you understand that arrogance is the source of all the mad hype that's slowly destroying this country. If black south african hated white people - when they came to power they would have done revenge like most of the unstable african countries - knees on the ground - im begging you to change for the good of the country

      crackerr - 2011-09-17 08:31

      Nobody is against learning any language in use in South Africa or elsewhere. It is the attempts at making it compulsory for not other practical reason than racist considerations. In other words, you will learn a certain language so you can be accepted as South African. We make it difficult for you, here is another little rule we make up as we go along. It is discrimination and not a good idea. Add that it will exclude people from further education. So Blade's preferred communist fodder can take over all the universities.

      Blikskottel - 2011-09-17 08:47

      That's their own fault for not developing their own culture, own technology etc over thousands of years. In the end those who did, are the ones dictating the rules and those rules will never be written in an African language. You wan to learn from them, you stick to their rules or perish.

      umlaut - 2011-09-18 17:49

      legacy of pain-------so you say revenge is ok. Your knees will get sore--get up.--- Malema wanted to take up arms immediately after elections but nelson told him to not to. We are not mocking people only those with negative ideas as to hurt SA and the people-especially minority groups.

  • mal1 - 2011-09-17 00:26

    Blade, blade, blade. Do me a favour and start communicating only in an 'indegenous' language to the press. and while you at it include julius.

      umlaut - 2011-09-18 16:31

      Yes it is funny hey?-even uncle mugabe is screaming in English at the white race he hates so much, and he even begs money in english. Which language does blade speak? AND 'blade' he should change that.

  • CTatheist - 2011-09-17 00:28

    African languages are dying, just as Afrikaans. If you want to be competent on a global scale, get realistic about the future. English is a universal language, even the Chinese have a huge drive at teaching English at the moment.

  • SAJoe - 2011-09-17 00:32

    I don't see how any tertiary education in a black language would be possible. How many black words covering philosophy, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, law, economics etc etc are there? Oh I guess everyone can study black languages and gain from the vast store of written (oral?) literature but then our universities would be unique in providing nothing of practical use particularly if of most those passing maths with university entrance qualification were excluded because they couldn't spell properly in Xhosa. May be Blade should take a tertiary course in logic. What is his doctorate in anyway? Wishful thinking?

      umlaut - 2011-09-18 16:34

      SAjoe--has blade got a doctorate? Interesting--from where?-----

  • mobiles - 2011-09-17 00:46

    Dear Minister !!!!!!! Lol !

      mobiles - 2011-09-17 00:50

      Ffs , Africa will remain Africa !!! Education is the downfall of the ANC ! Do you seariously think that if the masses were educated they would vote for you ??????????????

  • Chris3 - 2011-09-17 00:52

    What's the point exactly, I send my kids to University to get a higher education, not to learn the language of the people far removed from nevermind higher but any sort of education. Hell, indigenous languages, and I use the terms loosely, don't even have the vocabulary to actually cover any sort of subject matter in terms of higher education. Maybe Julias can assist us with the Pedi word for Neuromotor Disease.....

      Blip - 2011-09-17 01:13

      Afrikaans was in exactly the same situation in 1920, but the government of the day decided to promote Afrikaans as a full academic/technical language up to doctorate level in any discipline and 20 years late it was all there and in place.

      Die Baas - 2011-09-17 11:49

      @Blip; I am obviously Afrikaans, with a full command of English and working command of both Spanish and German. I also have full command of several computer languages, thus giving me an extensive lingual scope. There are no subtleties and no nuance in any language that I can not express equally and sometimes even with superior word economy in Afrikaans. I understand you have a hate for my first language and I have seen that hate from English speakers in action before. My friend; I don't hate your language as it is expressive and sometimes even mildly poetic; I would thank you to stop belittling mine; because it is in every way a First World language applicable to the sciences, arts; poetry, literature; engineering (in fact any discipline you can think of). As for it being Kitchen-Dutch because Dutch and Flemish speakers can understand Afrikaans? What an argument. Afrikaans speakers can inversely understand them. The languages are closely related; but quite distinct. Afrikaans is simply the youngest edition, comprised mainly of Dutch, Flemish, German, Latin, Portuguese, English and even Indian influences with a couple of "Indigenous" African language words that sometimes add flavor (but only a very few). I can delve into the genesis of modern English and be as insulting to your bastardized language as you are to mine!

      umlaut - 2011-09-18 16:41

      Isn't the pedi word for that- newmazdadeceased- ..the new mazda is broken-julius

  • Blip - 2011-09-17 00:52

    Put your roubles where your mouth is, Blade. Declare that University of Zululand will be strictly Zulu-medium. UKZN too. Make Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Walter Sisulu Universities fully Xhosa-medium. Rhodes too. North Western can be totally Tswana. And so on. Let mother-tongue speakers study in their own mother language rather than force people to study in another tongue -- especially one for which they themselves feel they have no need to learn. Remember how being FORCED to study in another man's language -- Afrikaans -- unleashed the violent anger of the 1976 riots in Soweto? Have you learnt nothing, Blade?

      Doublepost - 2011-09-17 00:59

      Well apparently it was because they were "forced" to study all subjects in Afrikaans and not just Afrikaans as a subject. If that was the case, they would have all jumped at the chance to study it. /end sarcasm!

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:41

      Actually they weren't forced to study ALL subjects in Afrikaans. Only half of them.

  • PyroSA - 2011-09-17 01:07

    As long as Afrikaans is one of these, I'm ok with it ;) We have too many niche languages that have very little to contribute to a tertiary education though. In school it makes sense, after it's almost just a cosmetic thing :(

      Blip - 2011-09-17 08:43

      Afr is an indo-euro language, not an African one

  • dachshund118 - 2011-09-17 01:38

    Ridiculous!!! Rather spend the money to improve school children's use of English (which is an international language). The problem with most Blacks is that they struggle to express themselves when they have to write exam papers in English. The primitive "indigenous" languages don't have academic subject terminologies. Eish!

  • Danie - 2011-09-17 01:43

    I am Afrikaans. While the idea of 'home language education' is a politically palatable (and maybe even noble) idea, it is completely out of touch with the real world. State (i.e. taxpayers') money should be invested in the development of the economy for the greater good. Economic growth in turn presupposes an internationally competitive, educated workforce. We should be disproportionately allocating resources to ensure that proficiency in mathematics, science and English language skills are given priority. Once all the infrastructure is built, healthcare is ubiquitous and our population is employed, maybe then we'll have the luxury of debating whether or not it would be nice if we could all speak Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho or Afrikaans for that matter. Let's be a little pragmatic...

  • Kaizo - 2011-09-17 02:05

    What a complete and utter waste of time. Students in university have enough on their plate with their degree curriculum. Why should they be forced to have to learn some backward, tribal, waste of time language that can't even be used outside of South Africa. So unless you have plans to work for a BEE company or government, which is pretty much for the blacks only, there is no point in the rest of us wasting our time with this nonsense. In pretty much all top business company's (and a lot of them are international) no one is going to have a business meeting in an African tribal language.

  • Mystre - 2011-09-17 02:32

    People who bitch and moan about this aren't even affected. What a LuL. I think its a good idea to speak one other South African Language other than Afrikaans or English. It a step to break down the barriers between races.

  • Amanda Watson - 2011-09-17 03:14

    Dear Minister Nzimande, I would love to be fluent in Zulu. Problem is, the places that offer courses charge exorbitant fees. Where does one go to learn in a structured environment that isn't going to put one in the poorhouse? Why is it, that when it comes to being part of this country, there always somebody waiting in the wings to rip you off?

  • s s - 2011-09-17 03:25

    There should be one official language in South Africa and that's English.

  • Hermann - 2011-09-17 04:33

    It should also be a requirement to speak, read and write English - something which the school system has been unable to deliver thus far...

  • frikdt - 2011-09-17 05:41

    @Blade Nzimande: Maybe you should start by focusing on the basics, and let the ability to read, write and do arithmetic be a prerequisite for tertiary education...

  • Mike - 2011-09-17 05:41

    Unless there is a Zulu equivalent for "Lunar Module Fuel Payload Pre-heater Initialization Startup Sequence", this fantasy of African languages amounting to much in a high tech world is going nowhere.

      Blip - 2011-09-17 09:05

      What's it in Afrikaans?

      Mike - 2011-09-17 10:42

      . Blip asks what it is in Afrikaans? Well, if the Boer can build it, they'll name it whatever they want.... but ya gotta build it first. The Boer did so, the Russians, Indians, Chinese and Japs, too. Ya have to do the job not just talk about it, regardless of the language. .

      Die Baas - 2011-09-17 11:55

      @ Blip - Maanlandingstuig brandstoflading voorverwarming initialiseering proses. Troglodyte!

      Die Baas - 2011-09-17 12:00

      My apologies, my previous translation had an error as in Afrikaans a verb is actually fully contracted. The correct translation is: Maanlandingstuig brandstoflading voorverwarming inisialiseeringsproses.

      umlaut - 2011-09-18 16:51

      Mike---"Lunar Module Fuel Payload Pre-heater Initialization Startup Sequence"--You have just described "dagga"-you light a zoll sequence-they all know what that is.

      simon - 2011-09-18 18:22

      @Mike The Zulu equivalent is " hau " !

  • Kosmonooit - 2011-09-17 05:47

    What do the so-called 'Coloureds' and 'Indians' think of this? Oh my golly gosh! And as though we didn't suffer enough have Afrikaans culture force-fed during the Apartheid era, now more of the same ne? Hands up who has the stomach to live through another epoch of cultural fascism ...

      Buffalo - 2011-09-17 07:27

      You are already living in an `era' of one. Or have you been asleep for the past 17 years. Town names, municipalities, street names, changed history books, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

  • Deon - 2011-09-17 06:26

    Fools like this will never accept that their African languages are of primitive origin, limited to usage by black South Africans and have NO PLACE in the Western world they so desperately want to be part of. Keep your "languages" but do not try and ram it down my throat unless you can prove that it will have any value beyond the borders of this banana republic. For starters, give us the details of any business transacted by any South African with any-one in Europe using one of your african languages. Or is this just another sly ploy to deny the white person access to another privilege of democracy, higher education ?

      Blip - 2011-09-17 09:04

      When you do business with Croatians, Danes or Spaniards, you hire an interpreter.

      Nasdaq7 - 2011-09-18 10:02

      The big problem is it takes time to learn. Imagine they forced mathematics down on the entire population. Now that would enhance the ability of the country to produce money. This just a waste of time. This is not going to help job creation. An extra load on students. Just to pass your degree is effort. I would rather learn useful Chinese, Russian, Brazilian ( Portuguese is spoken in Angola too ), Indian as we are part of BRICS - at least that is worth something financially.

  • BoerSeun - 2011-09-17 06:29

    there are other things that need a higher priority, like level of education. as far as i remember 18 schools had a 0% matric pass last year. i think they need to focus on that. i know this is their tactics to take the focus off all their short comings.

  • Peter Molesworth - 2011-09-17 06:31

    hmmm... I wonder if there is some connection to the 1976 act requiring instruction of youths in Afrikaans? I resent the fact that my children HAVE to learn Afrikaans and that it is a primary qualification for graduation. I believe that language should be a matter of choice. Isn't Afrikaans an African language anyway? Please don't say that it is not indigenous and if you do please tell me where the Afrikaners come from. Which one do you pick that will give you an advantage? 1 of 9 or 10 and to what advantage. I would rather they were forced to learn Mandarin, it would help them and the country in time to come. External view as opposed to an internal view? (all a good Sat morning tease)

      Blip - 2011-09-17 09:02

      It's kitchen Dutch, just as how American is kitchen-English.

  • Maddi - 2011-09-17 06:45

    Actually having two braincells to rub together should be considered a prerequisite for tertiary education

  • Durbsdude - 2011-09-17 06:51

    Yes because learning an indigenous language is going to get you very far in the real world..pffffffff.

  • Jos - 2011-09-17 06:55

    Rather make it a compulsory subject at schools first