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Tue Jun 28 08:02:13 SAST 2016

All languages must prosper

Xolisa Tshongolo, language specialist, Khayelitsha, Cape Town | 04 March, 2016 00:20
No language should be developed, promoted, favoured and used at the expense of the other official languages. File photo
Image by: Simphiwe Nkwali

I struggle to contain myself when I see students making calls like "Afrikaans must go".

They are not only unconstitutional, they are also very disturbing to a language activist like me.

South Africa is a multilingual country with 11 official languages. None of them should fall.

Those of us who are clear about what direction South Africa should take find it difficult to support the struggle to fight Afrikaans in universities.

No language should be developed, promoted, favoured and used at the expense of the other official languages.

No South African official language should be marginalised.

They all share the same equal status and any action contrary to that is unconstitutional.

If African language speakers cannot fight for space for their languages in our education system, they only have themselves to blame.

Students are forfeiting an excellent opportunity to fight for a multilingual and inclusive education system for our country. But in order to do that they need to bring factually correct linguistic arguments to the fore.

It cannot be correct for universities to use Afrikaans at the expense of non- Afrikaans speakers, for example.

This needs to come up loud and clear, without nonsensical utterances such as Afrikaans must fall.

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