Afrikaans is also a mother tongue

2016-06-30 06:00

MR Khan’s letter in last week’s Fever “ Why is Afrikaans still so prominent?” refers.
I can indeed understand the frustration you have with the issue of Afrikaans­ still being taught at schools and may I add, not all schools.

Maybe you should have a look and you will find that beside Zulu and Xhosa, Afrikaans is the third biggest language used and spoken in South Africa.

In the Western and Northern Cape as well as in the Free State, Afrikaans is mainly spoken. May I add that among these various groups, Afrikaans is also a mother tongue. Many of these groups cannot speak English, yet they did have English as a second language at school - until this very day, “forced” upon them, as you put it.

It is so ironic that Afrikaans is targeted by the very people who created it. Let me explain.

During the 1800s, Dutch was the spoken language and many Malay, coloured and black people found it very difficult to speak. Words uttered from their mouths started a new language, the very one we know as Afrikaans. For example, Voort seg ik, a Dutch sentence meaning go away became voetsek, a word so freely used by even my black brothers. It simply means go away.

So many other words derived and got translated into this “kitchen” language, later freely used by all and years later it became a language. Now how indigenous is that?

More ironic is the word “apartheid” used by many a tongue. It is an Afrikaans word meaning to live apart. To my mind Mr Khan, Afrikaans had nothing to do with the so-called apartheid. It was inequality and stupid laws originally instituted by the English, the very language you so highly recommended. Those laws were adapted by the later Nationalist government.

I do however, agree with you that any pupil should be given a choice of which language he or she wants to be taught in.

At the moment it’s a complex situation, but hopefully with the right people at the steer in the Department of Education, all should be rectified.

Jao Oosthuizen

Afrikaans targeted by the people who created it

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