AfriForum and AfriForum Youth ask for the inclusion of Afrikaans in Unisa policy

AfriForum and AfriForum Youth take note of a document circulated by the management of the University of South Africa (Unisa) that announces that all staff and students at this institution henceforth have to know at least one African language. Both civil rights organisations ask that Unisa should return to its own former language policy by including Afrikaans in the definition of African languages, as all the relevant government departments do.

For years AfriForum and AfriForum Youth have been fighting against a monolingual English language policy at Unisa. Their appeal against the exclusion of Afrikaans in the university’s revised language policy was heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in November 2019. Judgment was reserved.

The fact that Unisa is now making drastic language policy adjustments is extremely premature ‒ it would make sense to wait for the verdict before imposing new requirements on staff and students, but at least Unisa now admits that their arguments in the abovementioned case re multilingual education being unnecessary and too expensive, are wrong.

“AfriForum and AfriForum Youth want to ensure that the language rights of the approximately 90% of South Africans for whom English is not their mother language will be taken into account and protected. This announcement by Unisa is a step in this direction, but Afrikaans will have to be included too in order for it to be fair and comprehensive in terms of the Constitution,” says Bernard Pieters, Manager of AfriForum Youth.

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