Zuma: Don't just speak English

2012-05-27 07:17

Durban - President Jacob Zuma on Saturday lamented the fact that South Africa's youth only wanted to speak English and not their historical languages.

"The younger generation only speak English," Zuma said speaking in Durban at the centenary gala dinner of the Hindu cultural organisation SA Maha Sabha.

He said the youth needed to speak their original languages.

"Let us encourage the Hindu youth to learn Indian languages and that will keep them in touch with their cultures."

He said that similarly he wished the same for the Zulu, Xhosa and youth of other cultural and ethnic groups.

Zuma said he did not believe that it would make the youth any less South African.

"We believe the diversity that we have is a strength to our nation. A nation that understands and tolerates diversity is a nation at peace with itself."

Zuma praised South African Hindus for their role in the struggle to free South Africa.

He said South Africa is estimated to have 1.28 million people of Indian descent, of whom 60 percent are Hindus.

  • Eye's Que - 2012-05-27 07:36

    Oh no!!! Back 10 steps, forward 1 step, back 3 steps, back 3 steps!!! Yes, Mr President at home but NOT if you want to be out there in the International area!!! Our youth are handicapped enough, don't make it any worse for them!!! Oh GOD, I give up!!!

      Alan - 2012-05-28 14:05

      Speaking Zulu could Xhosa problem.

      Blip - 2012-05-29 00:21

      Zuma -- put your money where your mouth is, and get one or two KZN universities to teach all their courses in the medium of isiZulu. There are 10 million Zulus but no Zulu-medium universities. Afrikaners established several of their own Afrikaans-medium universities when the language was barely in its infancy and where the number of mother-tongue Afrikaans speakers numbered barely a quarter of a million.

  • swmabotja - 2012-05-27 08:07

    Dear Zuma, Don't just speak Zulu. Dude you sound like you're reading when you speak english. We speak english because we're in mixed groups of atleast 3 ethnic groups where ever we are, Rainbow.

      jo.vankatwijk - 2012-05-27 08:39

      The best answer on this page!

      Thuphac - 2012-05-28 12:44

      Mabotja, all Zuma is saying is that you, as a Pedi, must not forget your Sepedi. He didn't say do not learn or speak English. Hey, monna, read the article again, slowly this time.

      Maphasa - 2012-05-28 22:09

      Comrade Mabotja, do you understand English? 'cuz I think you didn't understand that article

  • sapepa.sapepa - 2012-05-27 08:11

    The French are encouraged to speak both French and English, Germans are encouraged to learn both Germen and English, the same with the Chinese and Japanese and Spanish. Even Afrikaner children are encouraged to know both Afrikaans and English, and rightfully so, even though Afrikaans is not an international language. Now why do you people make such a fuss when it comes to other languages such as isiXhosa and isiZulu?????????? Reading some of these comments MAKE ME SICK!!!!

      Paul - 2012-05-27 09:39

      I agree, your mother language and then inglish to give yourself a chance in the world. I dont think Zuma ment drop inglish alltogether. I think a lot of the comments are hot air.

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:43

      Sapepa, I understand what Zuma meant. My beef with him is the horrible standard of English taught to our children. He should make sure they get the best education available. Surely by now he must also realize what a lack of education means in one's life. Shouldn't that be enough reaon for him to insist on good education?. Their mother tongue children learn at the knee of their mother. The language needed to get on in life should be taught at school and here it isn't.

      Zulu - 2012-05-27 16:54

      Paul good point, sir. I just hope you don't speak your English the way you spell it

      James - 2012-05-27 18:02

      My dear Sapepa, all though I hate to nit pick I will on this occasion. You say afrikaans is not an international language, this is correct but you fail to mention that afrikaans does help internatinoally(if you have had the occasion to travel to europe). I, as an afrikaans speaking person am able to converse with those in holand, northern parts of belgium where they speak flemish(strange, but flemish is more similar to afrikaans than dutch), Java in Jakarta where the elderly there still speak dutch (was a dutch colony), as well as being able to read german. Afrikaans is a very beneficial language and according to current stats, is the most widely spoke language in South Africa.

      Gerald - 2012-05-27 20:13

      @ James, Where do you get your stats

      Paul - 2012-05-28 06:26

      @ Zulu, shamefull i know

      Paul - 2012-05-28 06:29

      Cant spell check on my e.mail ?

      Chrissie - 2012-05-28 16:45

      James I totally agree with you!! Afrikaans is a beautiful language and it can go far..... I have spoken Afrikaans all over the world and people do understand us! I don't care what the rest of you say.... Afrikaans will always be a part of South Africa whether you like it or not!

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-05-29 12:52

      Afrikaans is internationally recognised!!!! It has been incredibly useful to me while living in Europe. I can speak to Dutch people and to Flemish people in Belgium. I was even able to use it when I deciphered a Dutch letter at work!! Plus it is even available on Google Translate!

  • Jaco - 2012-05-27 08:24

    My personal opinion is that the man has a point in regards to keeping your own culture and language alive....if that was the point he was trying to get across. Think he has let himself open to much debate as to the oppression of the Afrikaans language taken out of school and top universities. Must say he is probably the most boring and uninspired speaker as a president. Also belief that to succeed in this world you need to have a good understanding of the English language.

      Jaco - 2012-05-27 08:48

      I can understand if you agree with my statement, but if not do not just give me a thumbs down. Explain what you do not agree with....

      Oom - 2012-05-28 15:29

      Hoor Hoor ouboet..

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-05-29 12:58

      Totally agree with you Jaco. I am German and still proud of my roots (well, except for that one horrible man in Germany's past). However I am totally fluent in English and in Afrikaans, thanks to my parents immigrating to Australia when I was six and them putting me in a Afrikaans shool when we immigrated to SA when I was 9!

  • patrick.ooro - 2012-05-27 08:24

    This is so myopic. So in what other country are they going to speak isiZulu? English is the global business language...Even the AU, which SA is trying so hard to be in control of, uses English, French and Portuguese as official languages. Unless they plan to change the languages once they are in charge...

      david.joffe - 2012-05-27 09:20

      Did you know it's possible for a person to learn two languages? In fact, studies show that bilingualism (or multilingualism) appears to have cognitive benefits: "SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. "

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:45

      David, speaking four makes me a genius then.

      david.joffe - 2012-05-27 16:32

      @Jacqui Don't know if you were joking, but it's pretty unlikely benefits compound in that way. More science on the benefits of multilingualism: "... bilinguals switch tasks faster than monolinguals" "Thinking in a Foreign Language Makes Decisions More Rational" "Being bilingual 'boosts brain power'" "The ability to speak two languages can make bilingual people better able to pay attention than those who can only speak one language" "... the Contribution of Multilingualism to Creativity: ... enhanced functioning of individuals who use more than one language, when compared to monolinguals" "Bilingualism Fine-Tunes Hearing, Enhances Attention" "bilingualism confers protection against the onset of Alzheimer's disease" "hearing two languages regularly during pregnancy puts infants on the road to bilingualism by birth" "Becoming a bilingual can change a person's cognitive functioning and language processing in a number of ways."

      david.joffe - 2012-05-27 16:33

      Oops, the above comment was meant to have this link:

      Blip - 2012-05-29 00:15

      If you run a business in Nkandla or anywhere else in rural Zululand, you'll quintuple your turnover by dealing with your customers in isiZulu. You're not disadvantaged by knowing no English. Nor is a businessperson in a village in Hungary who speaks only Hungarian, a Chinese in most of China, an Italian in Italy etc. Very, very few non-English businesspeople depend on English for their business success. You can hire a translator/interpreter if needed, on occasion.

  • nditsheni.singo - 2012-05-27 08:27

    Danny. you must be realistic. education does not mean abandoning your mother toungue. just be positive and stop tacling the person but the facts. I suspect that your comment is made out of your anger about JZ. stop it and save your stress because you wont change him anyway.

  • frieda.bontkowskyj - 2012-05-27 08:28

    Madness! Yes, so that the sheeple can stay uninformed and keep being missled is the only reason!!

  • lownabester - 2012-05-27 08:37

    Zuma as usual open his mouth and talk rubbish. Please learn to pronounce your english words correct. Its embarrasing to hear you speak on TV

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:47

      Michael yep the way he is going he will never get to the whites that struggled while he was learning to play chess on Robben Island.

      junebugg.kinte - 2012-05-27 22:57

      Lownabester you must remember that English is not his first language, If you can even try to speak Zulu as much as he speaks English then you can make this childish idiotic comment... If you go to France,Spain,China,Italy,Greece, Germany etc their English pronunciation/Standard is way is not on par. Why?? It is because their English their first Language ,and It is also a second language to Zuma. Zuma's English is waaaaay better than most European Presidents, South American Presidenta and Middle eastern President..Grow the f* up and stop paying attention to non sense...AFRICAN LANGUAGES ARE HERE TO STAY AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

      Irma - 2012-05-28 17:17

      Can you speak his native language perfectly? It annoys me when people mock or get irritated at the way African people speak Wnglish- at least they can speak another language.

  • Michael - 2012-05-27 08:39

    Hmmm, ja, it's so very important to be able to make yourself understood in Pedi when visiting Switzerland.... Now as far as thanking the Hindu nation for their contributions to "The Struggle" - Why don't you get it all off your chest now Mr. "Spear of the F@ing Nation" and thank everybody else you've left out, you know the Eskimos, the Hollywood Cartoon Nation, The people of Mars and other liberal planets, The lost tribes of Dipsh1t - get in while you can so everybody can feel good about sticking it to the vanquished whitey in the good old R of SA. Oh and by the way, when you're done, why don't you offer a special "stuggle" tribute to the Japanese, go fall on you spear and f:)k yourself!

      Leon Coe - 2012-05-27 08:55

      well said Michael, could not have put it in a better way.

      Mogori - 2012-05-27 09:08

      The President clearly says not to speak only English, what did I miss for you and others to be so on the offensive. He did not say not to speak English, unless off course my limited understanding of the language lead me not to understand the deeper meaning of those simple words. I meet descent white folk on a daily basis and when ever I come across the uncouth retoric of yourself, Levin, Oscar and all other people who always approach national issues with contempt and disgust I shed a tear for my country for one day there may not be a differentiation between who is good and who is not. We are living in a beautiful country and some of us would like to keep it that way whether we agree with the government of the day or not. The day we all loose respect to each other is the day we will get the R of SA we all feared would come under a black government, you gentlemen are already leading the way towards that reality as you continually spear into the hearts of ordinary black and white people who are trying to make this country work and prosper with your daily negative, insulting and disrespectful retoric!!

      Oscar - 2012-05-27 09:21

      Mogori, so what you are trying to say is that you still take the shyte that this corrupt government is feeding you on face value? Please grow up and see what is going on around you.

      david.joffe - 2012-05-27 09:24

      "it's so very important to be able to make yourself understood in Pedi when visiting Switzerland" It's also not useful to 'make yourself understood' in Japanese when visiting Switzerland .. does that mean the Japanese should drop the Japanese language because it's not spoken in Switzerland? That makes no sense.

      Jaco - 2012-05-27 09:29

      Mogori...."country for one day there may not be a differentiation between who is good and who is not." Good meaning = competent and who is not good = incompetent....

      Paul - 2012-05-27 09:56

      Oscar, thats not what Mogori is saying. What he is saying that a lot of folk are on the offensive here for nothing. Zuma diddent say drop inglish completly and whats wrong with your mother tonge ? We"ve had enough cr@p in the last few days to get hot about. Whats the big deal here

      Michael - 2012-05-27 10:05

      OK, now that I'm a little calmer... I have no problem with the basic tenet here - sure, hold on to tradition for traditions sake, my basic point was that the value of obscure language in the international scheme of things is insignificant - that's all. What I'm sick to death with however is the never ending a$$kissing posture adopted by our goverment fawning over all and sundry to thank them for "liberating" this country I fought in the bush war because I was ordered to. It wasn't because I had some perverted desire to kill previously disadvantaged people. (For the PC morons who will cry out that there was a choice - no there bloody well wasn't!) So, we ceased fire, did a bit of genuine voting, the people spoke and our new govenment was born - congratulations - really! Then came the seemingly entrenched performance of congratulating every Martian and his dog for helping defeat the enemy... Well, every time "The Spear" opens his gob to thank another liberating he re-afirms just who the enemy was - or rather is... So here we are then, me with my white skin who will seemingly forever be an enemy of the state, well, I've tried the reconciling thing but it seems that doesn't work so I guess I'd better just accept that things will never change - not because I said so but rather that fathead we call a President does, graciousness in victory is clearly not an ANC trait.

      Mogori - 2012-05-27 13:40

      Oscar, Oscar,Oscar!! Whew, I guess it's going to be a long winding path ahead for you buddy!! Anyone has to read your comments and insults and soon enough they will realize that you are operating from a whole different level here. The rest of the people are being civil on this topic but your tone of language and content screams of deep seated fear, anger and pain. You need help, or Jesus. As a matter of fact I believe a combination of both and a tongue rinse if neither work. We can all be nasty without vulgar and I guess that is my plead to you that please let's disagree but keep it civil. @ Michael, I like how you say you were conscripted in the army and had to follow orders even if it were deeds you did not concur with! That is the whole point that those in government might not always have their heads in the right place but you had to award them the recognition of what they were, the decision makers at the time. Whites are not the enemy of the state but the few incidents occurring in this country lately are creating a perception that perhaps they want to be, hence I was saying that with our negative retoric we should be careful not to disrespect a people by always blanket covering issues of national interest.

      Michael - 2012-05-27 15:20

      @Mogori I have nothing but admiration for Matt5:9 people, one of which you appear to be. I also support your stance on crass language, use thereof a clear pointer to an ordinary vocabulary - as imprinted by my parents. You then say that whites are not regarded as enemies of the state - how I wish that to be the case but unfortunately your theory is disproved every day by miscreant politicians and the common masses capable of nothing more constructive than retributional crime (By the way, I mean no racial bias here, SA is blessed with an abundance of talent and class in all its people regardless of colour) We fought a war which was stopped by politicians for a variety of self serving interests amongst those the realisation that outright victory was going to be virtually impossible for either side. The cessation of hostilities however, was seen as a victory for the ANC - OK, whatever - congratulations! Now the problem - unlike other conventional conflicts (Allies in Germany, Coalition Forces in Iraq) where the occupying conqueror demobilized after establishing victory, in our case, we have had to continue living together and go from being enemies to buddies at the stroke of a pen - very difficult. It is 18 years now since the ANC "won" and yet every day we will still hear from some upstart political weed about the triumph in the struggle. Like some schoolyard bully constantly prodding you in the chest with a finger, I for one am done turning the other cheek

      Nigel - 2012-05-28 16:29

      @ Michael - historically 100% correct. It was not a military victory at all, and half (if not more) of MK and other modern day little racist militants weren't even there. They've been sold the idea that it was some kind of battlefield victory worthy of international praise. Far from it. I remember a lot of 'running away' actually...... But still, I'm glad Apartheid is gone. But, I fear what we now have is far worse, and many of our fellow Black S/Africans are starting to realise this. If wisdom and sanity prevail, we might pull through, but reading some of the comments here, that isn't going to happen. Fact is, Blacks still have not got what they're looking for, and they will blame Whites one way or another - bottom line, even though it's there own people screwing them over.

  • Claudio - 2012-05-27 08:47

    With all the problems this chump is facing as well as major inadequacies in our education system, he has to bring this crap up. He needs to fix up our number one problem - educate the impoverished and in so doing - empower them. Not by talking rubbish, not by affirmative action and the much maligned and abused BEE sytem. But what can we expect from someone who has no leadership qualities

      Koos - 2012-05-27 10:51

      Why do parents take their kids to a school where English is the only language of learning although they are not able to understand it. Where is the mothertongue learning schools for the non English/Afrikaans kids? Talk is cheap.

  • Neville - 2012-05-27 08:56

    What I am about to write may offend and may not carry the blesing or agreement of all or any so called coloured person In stating these facts I politely request you to share your differences of opinion in concert to the readers & not lambast or degrade the so called ooloured people A lot of people including so called coloured people do not understand (forgive my mightier then though stance for a a while to explain) We as so called coloured people come from different cultures, groups & backgrounds so more often then not we tend to disagree on various issues be it religion, sport , race or culture and mainly politics You will find that coloured people, where there is a distinct & clear coloured great grand father and mother profess to be the true coloured Then you find the coloured with a mixed race , religion & culture not colour, they may be of Indian , African , Muslim , English , French , Portugeuse , Spanish etc. grand parents where the offspring will communicate to them in that language and teach them the culture. Here we already find over ten differen culture groups and languages if you include the differen black veneculars & still they are ferred to as so called coloureds. Then there is the distinction of wealth , class & breed What then happens is that we tend to select similarities and that is how we bond. Afrikaans speakers, English speakers, Sotho speakers , Zulu speakers , Portugeuse speakers with either Afrikaans or English as the common communicator

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:53

      Neville we are all coloured people. Instead of sticking a colour label on me, I would rather be known as a person with heart. But you are right.

      Oom - 2012-05-28 15:39

      Iss ja my broo...

  • Clinton Bowden - 2012-05-27 08:58

    My heading for Zuma would be "don't just talk lies, hypocrisies, and no respect"

  • Bosvark Van Rensburg - 2012-05-27 09:10

    I think the president should have said that lets try to learn each other languages. That will also promote unity and help to learn more about each other. I was impressed when I saw two english farmers meeting at a shop in kwazulu natal and the spoke for about 5 minutes in Zulu.

      Koos - 2012-05-27 10:55

      My moto when it comes to language is quite simple. You want my money you talk my language. You want to work for me, you need to talk my language. Those are my rules. I complete my cheques in my language.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-05-27 09:17

    Beteken dit dat Afrikaans nou veilig is? Hoef ek nie meer te vrees dat my kinders nie Afrikaans sal kan praat nie?

      Theo - 2012-05-27 10:11

      Maak maar net seker dat jou kindertjies ook baie goed Engels kan praat en verseker sodoende dat hulle dit ver in die lewe eendag sal bring.

      meketsi - 2012-05-27 12:15

      Shirley, i have one big problem. When I meet Afrikaans speaking people they suddenly switch to English, threatening the speaking of their language by others like me, a black african. They should be proud and not afraid. Do they possibly fear being ostracized for things long past? I love speaking afrikaans but experience a shortage of speakers in kzn. Even when my wife and i have to communicate something secret in the house we communicate in afrikaans and our english and isizulu speaking children are none the wiser. Lol!

  • Blip - 2012-05-27 09:20

    Zuma, why can't any of 10 million of your fellow Zulus go to a Zulu-language university?

      Rob - 2012-05-27 10:54

      Good one Blip. True.

  • haroldrvjansen - 2012-05-27 09:41

    lekker! Nou kom ons praat Afrikaans!

  • tobydt - 2012-05-27 09:54

    "We believe the diversity that we have is a strength to our nation. A nation that understands and tolerates diversity is a nation at peace with itself." Are you not currently in court for your narrow views on culture?

  • Chris - 2012-05-27 10:12

    Ah Mr President is busy get all his plans in place for his re-election as President in 2014. He is again playing the 'victim', himself first of course, and then other cultures by coming out with this story about languages. Let's not forget how well he played the 'i am a victim' card before. The Spear painting debacle will do this time round to ensure that he is re-elected.

      Genet - 2012-05-27 11:21

      Yes dewdawn exatly my thoughts. This is just him trying to get people to vote for him. Don't be fooled people.

  • Joan - 2012-05-27 10:16

    He doesnt say the youth should ONLY speak their own language. Why shouldn't they speak as many languages as they can? It irritates me to see a group of blacks speaking english amongst themselves - it is usually so put on and pretentious (not to mention loud) - "look at me, I can pretend to be white" - if they want to speak english, let them at least observe the rules of polite society and keep their conversations to themselves.

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-05-27 10:22

    In the whole wide world it is up to parents to speak the language to their kids that belongs to their culture or country BUT English is mostly their 1st language which is good especially if the kids are going to attend international colleges and work abroad because there is hardly any bloody chance that (even the highly educated) will get a job in SA earning a decent salary. As for the Indians, let them rather run the country and declare Breyani our national dish - they can make yoga compulsory in schools and work us towards a more peaceful nation where we accept one another's cultures and beliefs. JZ doesn't need to thank the Hindus only there are many many many Indians living in SA for 100s of years who are not only Hindu.

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 12:01

      Tricia, can we make meditastion is schools compulsory too?. Imagine what that and yoga will have for an affect.

      Oom - 2012-05-28 15:44

      Ja Jacqui, meditation is a good one, so is budgeting your money, and life coaching, life skills....and English

  • victor.mendes1 - 2012-05-27 10:23

    Soon he and the out of line ANC will be calling english and english speaking people racist!

  • anneck.cranke - 2012-05-27 10:27

    Jacob can't even speak English! Is he jealous? Lol!

      Judy-Rose Cyster - 2012-05-27 10:51

      lol ofc0z Zuma w0uld say ppl need t0 speak their original/native language, c0z he cant a damn even speak English pr0perly.. his english is as p0or as the vagrant on the street!

      Paul - 2012-05-27 15:48

      @ Judy, a bit like yours

      Irma - 2012-05-28 17:20

      Just because he cannot speak it 100%, doesn't mean it shouldn't be encouraged. It's like telling someone they can't have chocolate because they are on a diet. It's not helpful to discourage others.

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:06

    Zuma doesn't know what to drivel about anymore. Speak English?. What with the education they get?.

  • Mark - 2012-05-27 11:28

    The man's an idiot and seems to spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to prove this to all and sundry. Go, Zuma, go - you will finish the ANC off.

  • Zenzile Tshanda - 2012-05-27 11:36

    in south africa we've got eleven official languages. speak the language that you are comfortable with.

  • Herbert - 2012-05-27 11:58

    Geez Boet, we don't want the masses to be as uneducated as the Prez. Let them at least put one foot into the First World by doing the right thing and learning, and most importantly, using, English. Zulu IS NOT spoken on Wall Street. Or in Engineering Manuals.

  • Nigel - 2012-05-27 12:36

    I don't get the sense that he is saying that people should not speak English, simply that they should speak their own e.g Zulu, Xhosa and presumably Afrikaans as well as English. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      Paul - 2012-05-27 15:59

      Agreed, to many folk freaking out here

  • Blixum - 2012-05-27 14:29

    Whew! My, but the WASPs (White Anglo Saxon People) are touchy about their language. During apartheid they enjoyed a very protective environment for their language when english was one of the official languages of the country. Now they feel threatened when Zuma is encouraging other cultures to maintain their languages. No wonder they (the WASPs) sit back and enjoy the fighting when Afrikaners are fighting for the survival of their language. Nou voel hulle dit aan hulle eie basse! LOL. And, mind you, some of the best skilled professionals in the world, received ALL their in Afrikaans only and I know, (in my small world) of quite a number who have made it to the top of the ranks in the world with Afrikaans as a teaching and training language.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-27 16:45

    The youth move towards a more unified modern `South African identity.

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-27 17:08

    Mazibulo, the disrespect that many of us have towards the current president stems from the fact that he acts irresponsibly when it comes to having sex out of wedlock despite having several wives. AND, from his corrupt actions, bullying pocilies, the fact that he allows the various spheres of government and state rund organizations to run a free-for-all reign of corrupt activities including tender rigging and common theft. Also, stupid waste of resources on luxuries and parties instead of using these funds to actually do good for the poor and all the citizens in this country. Respect is earned, and Zuma has done nothing toe earn it, and a lot to lose it. And yes, the fact that he has very little formal education is just that, a fact. I have no problems with people form any ethnic group, I have HUGE problems respecting corrupt, untehical thieves.

  • Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-05-27 18:24

    I currently teach English in South Korea to adults n juniors, I must say Zulu is so popular once in a while my students ask me to teach them some Zulu words, One of them always greets me in Zulu n asks me how m doing in Zulu. Interesting thing is I never told them I was Zulu, they just asked me if I spoke Zulu, they are pretty interested. Swahili too is quite popular in South Korea, my point is no one even knows about Afrikaans, except for Zulu or English, Why is this still even part of the official languages? That it is spoken by former oppressors is enough to have it removed, I swear no Asian nor any person knows anything bout it.... Ds is also true for other countries....

      Pieter - 2012-05-27 19:09

      I am a 71 year old South African and I walked amongst the people of the great march to the Parliament buildings in Cape Town in 1960.I never voted for the Nationalist Party and get along with all God created people I come acros.I speak Afrikaans and English and are proud of my country and its people.I find no reason to tramp on other people's culture,language or discrimination on the grounds of a persons race.My outlook is that there is so much to learn from other cultures,other races etc that my life is to short,me and m,y wife rather enjoy people and diversity than to look down on people or to shorten our lives by critisising those that are crossing our road. SOUTH AFRICANS WE CAME ACROSS THE WORLD, WE ARE MANY,BUT WE ARE ONE,LET US BE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN. "This is the tale I wish SA Polititions wish to advocate"

      Irma - 2012-05-28 17:22

      There are many languages that we don't know of, it doesn't make it any less important. But seeing that you say overseas they only know English and Zulu, why don't you remove the other African languages from the Official Languages list. Makes sense?

  • Songezo - 2012-05-27 19:04

    He is so right and let us not mistake speaking English for being educated Danny, there is no correlation, if any its negative.

      Lacrimose - 2012-05-27 19:28

      Two things at least that are necessary but lacking - primary education in mother-tongue and access to books, comics & magazines (fiction and non), movies, games,websites, 'mobile 'phones and all the fun and serious things that youth spend their time and money on, available in their mother tongue. The education process is wrong, the attitude to diverse language media is wrong and so you cannot blame younger people for embracing a language where all the action is.

  • Pieter - 2012-05-27 19:31

    Honorable Mr President you are the President of ALL SOUTH AFRICANS.Please change your act to be inclusive and preach incluciveness and the enjoyment that comes about when people start enjoying diversity.

  • hkrugertjie - 2012-05-27 19:55

    I really don't see how you can go through life knowing only 1 language, you do cut of a big part of the world when doing so. I also don't see have anyone will be at a disadvantage when doing more than 1 language as opposed to knowing only 1. The only people who have ever convinced me that you should be fluent in only 1 language are usually the ones who can't speak more than 1 themselves.

  • Cuteandbronzed - 2012-05-27 20:42

    Yes while Zuma is at it can he wipe out Afrikans? No space for a language that isnt going anywere. And while we are on the topic of multi-culturalism, Angela Merkel said it best! MULTI-CULTURALISM DOES NOT WORK, we need to acts like africans since where in africa. NO AFRIKANS PLEASE SOME ONE STOP THE LANGUAGE. I was at a Vodacom store and there was this Afrikans couple next to me speaking, I felt like I just drank 2 litres of Castor Oil.

      Irma - 2012-05-28 17:23

      Your comment is stupid. Just because YOU don't like the language doesn't mean people should stop speaking it. Who died and made your way the right way? Multi Culturalism CAN work if people like you were a little more tolerant to people's rights and heritages.

      Nyiks11 - 2012-05-31 13:52

      I did some of my studies in Afrikaans in the early 90s and in my line of work I liaise a lot with afrikaans speaking people. So I don't agree with you when you say the language isn't going anywhere. It is never too late to learn ,like me try watching an afrikaans news bulletin from time to time or try reading articles written in the language. You will thank yourself years down the line when things start making sense

  • amit.prag - 2012-05-27 23:20

    As far as I can tell, Zuma is saying that we should learn our traditional languages in Addition to English. That makes perfect sense and is very wise. I'm not a Zuma fan, but I can acknowledge when something wise is said. Why are the people responding to this article so outrageously? People learn multiple languages all the time. It's a very healthy thing to do and should be encouraged. Comfort in Diversity is the way forward too. The statements above have no relation to the rest of Zuma's saga. And they make sense.

  • Vince.York - 2012-05-27 23:25

    YEAH, that is why Mozambique and Angola and other nations using a SINGLE UNIFYING LANGUAGE GET TO THE TOP FAST - and the ANC just uses diverse barbed forked poisonous blackened tongues to create smoke screen after smoke screen and cause rifts and divisions in this country. GROW UP & GET OUT ZUMA - the clown among the puppets/ rather go lie inbetween all your harem and do what you do best WITHOUT spending all the public money.

  • Norbert - 2012-05-27 23:54

    As a German speaking person I had to learn English and Afrikaans when I came to S.A. I worked 30 years for a utility company in Zululand and spent nearly 70 percent of my time in the rural area. I never learned the Zulu language properly as the local population had one thing ahead of me. Nearly everyone spoke english too. For me it was embarrassing not able to meet them on a equal basis. Knowledge of the local language fosters respect,trust and and understanding for each other's culture. Even if I don't agree with Pres. J.Zuma on a lot of things he is in this case right.

  • Mmannyo - 2012-05-28 03:38

    @David, arrogance ke Goipona.

  • mokheled - 2012-05-28 08:42

    @David.Joffe arrogant means"go ikgantsha' I am proud of you to learn my mother tongue. keep it up.U r a true south african.

  • Stephen - 2012-05-28 08:49

    These ANC idiots might as well just chema in their own lingo cos they never make any sense anyhow and their command of the English language is apalling to say the least.

  • Carla - 2012-05-28 08:50

    Have to say, I agree with Mr. President on this way. Yes, it's extremely important to speak English, but at the same time, I think it's important to hold on to your roots.

  • nadineelvina.francis - 2012-05-28 09:28

    Let me just say it as it is : Zuma is promoting Apartheid - Whites must speak their languages, Indian their languages, and blacks their languages. He wants to keep us segregated and seperated. Thats why he is enforcing apartheid laws, like the access to Infomation bill and control of the media. God help SA - we are going back to the dark ages.

      Irma - 2012-05-28 17:24

      That's not what he is saying... he is just encouraging the youth to speak other languages.

  • Fiona - 2012-05-28 10:32

    I agree with the president on this one. The general tenor of most comments I have read here seems to be that any traditional language other than "the international language of commerce" is outmoded and therefore has no value. What a load of nonsense! I suppose then that we should also only read stockmarket reports and listen only to advertising jingles instead of reading poetry, great works of literature and listening to symphonies and traditional folk songs! There is far more to language than commerce - it expresses our culture and our soul and to understand another's language - or the one we may have lost of our own - is to discover each other's greater humanity. I would love to be able to read the Mahabharata in the original language. I would love to learn a few of the languages of my fellow country people. Let's have someone set up informal adult learning centres - schools or libraries - where we can do this. We can only be enriched by learning as much as possible about the world - and that means other languages too.

  • Chrono - 2012-05-28 11:28

    I am sorry folks but Mr Zuma is correct. How many of us will be happy to learn that our children are abandoning their/our culture? Speaking your own language under any circumstances is a fundamental right. Afrikaans was developed into a fully-fledged scientific language and the same can and should be done with the indigenous African languages. Black children in SA suffer a great deal in their education because they are not taught in their mother tongue which is not English. The effect of the switch to a language they have to learn while in school and from less than ideal role models is the poor matric results. When at varsity these pupils have still not mastered English because of mentioned reasons and they keep on struggling.

  • Lesego - 2012-05-28 11:45

    how on earth does a pres say this 2 the youth. imagine whn they get to us 4 exmple en they cnt evn say a single word in english. hw idiotic cn u get mara hee JZ

  • Lesego - 2012-05-28 11:58


      eddie.khanyilekaduma - 2012-06-17 13:25

      we r not in the usa here my friend..and stop imagining

  • Simphiwe - 2012-05-28 12:12

    To all: Before u can comment on any article, please read it carefully and make correct analysis on it. Zuma is saying that ppl should embrace their culture and know their roots, not saying that they should not speak English. Think about it carefully, he would be misleading ppl if he did that cause he speaks English most of the time but still embrace his culture. When u making comments, its best u make an educated comment. One last thing lets respect each other no matter what age, race and culture we come from.

  • ntonty.metsing - 2012-05-28 12:39

    Rainbow nation! Our children are expressing themselves in english,not because they dont know their african language,how do you expert my son(Sotho) to communicate with his Venda speaking friend?

  • ppisciotta - 2012-05-28 12:45

    ppisciotta - May 28, 2012 at 04:46 Report comment I totally support learning and maintaining any language if for nothing thing else than the cultural significance it holds. But one must be smart to achieve success. One must know the langauge of the world if they intend to expand their opportunities. For now English is the common denominator across the globe.