AfriForum Youth regrets that the Stellenbosch University’s (SU) council did not take the facts, historical context and global examples into account in their decision to downgrade Afrikaans to a second class language.
“The language policy is written in such a way that even if as few as two classes are offered at SU in Afrikaans, it basically complies with all aspects of the new policy. SU says that they want to promote multilingualism, but by reducing and downgrading the Afrikaans offer, it certainly does not meet the dictionary definition of ‘promoting’,” said Bernard Pieters, Manager at AfriForum Youth.
AfriForum Youth has been involved in SU’s language debate since 2010. Meetings were held for years and presentations were made that fell on deaf ears. AfriForum Youth also conducted numerous court cases which were later continued by GelykeKanse. The six students who were listed as applicants on the original court documents, which turned up in the Constitutional Court, were all AfriForum Youth members, including Pieters himself.
SU also undertakes in the new language policy that the three official languages of the Western Cape will be used and promoted, but contradicts itself with the following: “In addition, the language used in the student communities (residences and private organisation wards) must include and enable participation.” Pieters is of the opinion that this single sentence can be used to defend the exclusive use of English at and in all facets of SU’s structure, should it be addressed in legal action.
“The fight to keep Afrikaans as an equal language at Maties is over. We as AfriForum Youth will now focus on the preservation of Afrikaans with the aim of restoring it as an equal language in the future under a management that focuses on academic progress rather than political ideologies,” Pieters continues. “It is sad that the biggest struggle for the youth in the so-called new South Africa is to be treated as equals by the SU management.”
Get involved in the campus’ youth structures today and help make a difference: Send an e-mail to email@example.com or SMS “Maties” to 32687 (R1).