Lesufi has 'negative attitude' towards Afrikaans - AfriForum

2016-06-02 13:00
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Afriforum's Kallie Kriel after their debate on Afrikaans schools and using the language as the sole medium of instruction (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Afriforum's Kallie Kriel after their debate on Afrikaans schools and using the language as the sole medium of instruction (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Ekurhuleni - AfriForum says it believes that Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has a negative attitude towards the Afrikaans language, and could make decisions that could kill the language.

The civil rights group's CEO, Kallie Kriel, said during a debate with Lesufi in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, on Thursday, that the department was unfairly targeting Afrikaans schools.

Kriel commented on Lesufi's tweet earlier this year, in which the MEC reportedly said he was irritated by the fact that there were still Afrikaans-medium schools in 2016.

"We know what the Constitutional Court judgment was, and if you read that tweet the worrying fact is, is this judgment going to be used in a way that will stop Afrikaans schools from existing?" Kriel said in his opening address.

He said AfriForum had evidence that the introduction of English in Afrikaans institutions of learning almost always led to the Afrikaans language being wiped out completely.

"When the Rand Afrikaanse Universiteit introduced English, it was said that it won't harm Afrikaans and that both languages would be accommodated.

"Today, as we know, the University of Johannesburg is totally English and you will not find Afrikaans on that campus."

He said similar things were currently taking place at the universities of Pretoria, Free State and Stellenbosch.

'Afrikaans schools reduced by 15%'

AfriForum had also seen similar trends in Afrikaans schools which were converted into former Model C schools.

"There are many Afrikaans schools that are today English only, which also started when they said 'let's use both languages'.

"Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Afrikaans schools reduced by 15% and that is what we are worried about, nothing else. We want to make sure that Afrikaans kids have access to mother-tongue education."

Kriel said it was unfortunate that other school children did not have access to quality education in their mother tongue. He urged Lesufi to rather focus on developing that area so that the learners could develop to their "fullest extent", rather than targeting Afrikaans-medium schools.

He said the Afrikaans community was not asking for much from government. It just wanted to ensure that its culture and language was protected.

"We believe the move towards Anglisisation of our schools is not only to the detriment of Afrikaans children, it's to the detriment of the vast majority of black children in this country whose mother tongue is not English. So English is not the way to provide access, it's actually a barrier of access to good education."

The debate was continuing, with Lesufi yet to respond.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  johannesburg  |  education

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