PEN Afrikaans eis meertaligheid

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Hierdie verklaring is op 16 November per nuusbrief uitgestuur aan alle lede van PEN Afrikaans.


 

PEN Afrikaans eis meertaligheid en moedertaalonderrig as uitgangspunt vir onderwys in Suid-Afrika en ’n heroorweging van die Universiteit Stellenbosch se taalbeleid
 
[The English version of this declaration follows the Afrikaans below.]

penafrikaans300Die openbare reaksie van skok op die voorgestelde afskaffing van Afrikaans as een van die verstektale aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch het Afrikaans by ’n kruispad gebring waarin die ander inheemse tale hulle reeds van voor die dae van die apartheid-regime bevind. Een van Afrikaans se laaste verskansings as bevoorregte taal is nou daarmee heen, en die taal bevind hom so te sê in dieselfde bootjie as al die ander inheemse tale. Daar kan nie nou langer water getrap word nie oor die uiterste noodsaaklikheid vir die staat om te besin oor die meertalige aard van die Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskap.
 
PEN Afrikaans doen hiermee ’n beroep op die Suid-Afrikaanse regering om onmiddellik gelyke opvoeding vir alle Suid-Afrikaanse taalgroepe te verseker deur meertaligheid as uitgangspunt te aanvaar.
 
Ons eis dat moedertaal-onderrig die hoeksteen moet word van ons meertalige bestel, en dat die staat ophou om groot dele van ons bevolking te vervreem van gehalteopvoeding, hulle intellektueel te verarm en hulle te verdoem tot lewens van knegskap en armoede weens onbegrip van die taal wat op hulle afgedwing word, naamlik Engels.
 
Geen ekonomies, intellektueel en/of polities toonaangewende land in die wêreld dwing die meerderheid van sy bevolking om in ’n tweede of derde taal onderrig te word nie.
 
Ons betreur die feit dat die Universiteit van Stellenbosch se besluit om Engels te aanvaar as verstektaal, die Afrikaanse gemeenskap ontneem van ’n sentrum waar die onderwysers van die toekoms opgelei kan word om kennis deur medium van Afrikaans aan skoliere oor te dra. Ons is uiters bewus daarvan dat dit rampspoedige gevolge vir die groei en oorlewing van Afrikaans as gebruiks-, wetenskaplike, kunste- en handelstaal sal hê.
 
Ons skaar ons egter in hierdie besef by ons landgenote wat deur die apartheid-regime én die huidige regime die kans ontneem is om in hul moedertaal kennis te verwerf, hoofsaaklik weens ’n minderwaardige onderwysstelsel bedryf deur mense wat self nie Engels ten volle magtig is nie.
 
Ons eis dat die staat in ag neem dat die getal Engelse moedertaal-gebruikers ver oorskadu word deur die hoeveelheid moedertaal-gebruikers in sowel Zoeloe en Xhosa as Afrikaans. Dit is ewe noemenswaardig dat daar eweveel moedertaal-gebruikers van Setswana, Sepedi en Sesotho is as wat daar van Engels is.
 
Ons beskou dit as een van die wrangste ironieë in die geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika dat die regering toesien en meehelp dat Engels, die taal van die kolonialiseerder, die botoon voer bo al die inheemse tale, waaronder ons Afrikaans tel.
 
In dieselfde jaar dat die #RhodesMustFall-proteste daarin geslaag het om ’n standbeeld wat Britse imperialisme simbolies verteenwoordig, van die Universiteit van Kaapstad se kampus te verwyder, wil die regering kennelik toesien dat Rhodes se taal die enigste toegang tot kennis en demokratiese deelname word. Hierdie soort “dekolonisering” in Engels is ’n oksimoron en ’n voorbeeld van verdere selfkolonisering. Ons voorvaders is in hierdie land gedwing om die taal van die Britse koloniseerder te praat, maar in die jaar 2015 besluit ons vrywillig om aan te dring op tersiêre onderrig in uitsluitend daardie taal?
 
Dit is nou die tyd om hierdie proses te stuit. Om voort te gaan om Engels af te dwing op skoliere wat dit nie verstaan nie, is een vorm van verraad teenoor die burgers van ons land; om te verhinder dat aan opleidingsbehoeftes voldoen word in alle plaaslike tale, is verraad nie alleen teenoor hulle wat so hard geveg het om hierdie land van sy koloniale juk te bevry nie, maar ook die geslagte van die toekoms wat geen kans het om die kulturele erfenis van hul moedertaal te bestendig en oor te dra na volgende geslagte nie.
 
Die nuwe, voorgestelde taalbeleid van die Universiteit Stellenbosch is een van die laaste stuiptrekkings van Afrikaans as taal van tersiêre onderrig as dit, soos al duideliker blyk, ook by Tukkies, die NWU en die UV dood verklaar gaan word. Ons eis dat die regering nie alleen die risiko’s hieraan verbonde erken nie, maar ook dat daar van owerheidskant rekenskap gegee sal word van wat gedoen gaan word om die enorme agterstand wat die ander inheemse tale reeds op tersiêre vlak het, uit te wis.
 
Ons eis voorts dat die lede van die Raad van die US, wat op 30 November 2015 oor die aanvaarding van hierdie voorgestelde nuwe taalbeleid moet besluit, hul stem daarteen sal uitbring omdat dit Engels bevoordeel ten koste van alle ander landstale. Ons eis dat die Raad oop kaarte speel oor die mate waarin finansiële oorwegings en politieke druk van owerheidskant agter die nuwe taalbeleid sit. Ons eis verder dat elke Raadslid sy of haar stem openbaar maak, sodat die breë publiek ten volle ingelig is omtrent die besluite wat namens hulle geneem word.
 
Ons doen ten slotte ’n beroep op die Suid-Afrikaanse parlement om, as saak van uiterste dringendheid, aan die parlementêre Kommissie vir die Bevordering en Beskerming van die Regte van Kulturele, Godsdienstige en Taalgemeenskappe opdrag te gee om die marginalisering van inheemse tale te ondersoek en ’n aanbeveling te maak oor die aanwysing van universiteite wat na die verskillende taalbelange kan omsien.
 
PEN Afrikaans

PEN Afrikaans demands that multilingualism and mother-tongue education become the cornerstones of the South African education system and that the language policy at Stellenbosch University be reconsidered

[Die Afrikaanse weergawe van hierdie verklaring is bo die Engels te lees.]
 
The public’s shocked reaction regarding the proposed abolition of Afrikaans as one of the default languages ​​at Stellenbosch University, has brought Afrikaans to the same crossroads already faced by the other indigenous languages ​before the days of the Apartheid regime. Afrikaans’ last bastion as a privileged language is now gone, and the language finds itself in more or less the same position as all the other indigenous languages. There can now be no more delays in the extreme necessity for the state to consider the multilingual nature of the South African society.
 
PEN Afrikaans hereby urges the South African government to immediately ensure equal education for all the South African linguistic groups by accepting multilingualism as a point of departure.
 
We demand that mother-tongue education should become the cornerstone of our multilingual dispensation, and that the state should stop alienating our people from quality education, impoverishing them intellectually and condemning them to lives of servitude and poverty due to a lack of understanding of the language forced upon them, namely English.
 
No economically, intellectually and/or politically prominent country in the world, forces the majority of its population to be taught in a second or third language.
 
We lament the fact that the decision of Stellenbosch University’s to accept English as the only default language of instruction is depriving the Afrikaans community of a centre where the teachers of the future can be trained to transfer knowledge through the medium of Afrikaans to pupils. We are very aware that this will have disastrous consequences for the growth and survival of Afrikaans as a language for common use, science, the arts and commerce.
 
Yet we hereby side with our compatriots in realising that the Apartheid regime as well as the current regime have denied them the opportunity to acquire knowledge in their mother tongue, mainly due to an inferior education system run by people who are not fully conversant in English.
 
We demand that government takes into account that the number of English mother-tongue speakers is overshadowed by the number of mother-tongue speakers of isiZulu, isiXhosa and Afrikaans. It is equally noteworthy that the number of mother-tongue users of Setswana, Sepedi and Sesotho is approximately equal to that of English.
 
We regard it as the wryest of ironies in the history of South Africa that the government ensures and assists that English, the language of the coloniser, will prevail over all the indigenous languages, amongst which we list Afrikaans.
 
In the same year that the #RhodesMustFall protests have succeeded in removing a statue, symbolically representing British imperialism, from the University of Cape Town’s campus, the government wants to ensure that Cecil John Rhodes’ language becomes the only access to knowledge and democratic participation. This kind of "decolonisation" in English is an oxymoron and is an example of further self-colonisation. Our ancestors in this country have been forced to speak the language of the British colonisers, but in 2015 we decide to voluntarily insist that tertiary teaching be exclusively delivered in that language?
 
Now is the time to stop this process. To continue forcing English onto pupils who do not understand it, is one way of betraying the citizens of our country; to prevent our training needs from being fulfilled in all local languages, is a betrayal not only to those who have fought so hard to liberate this country from the colonial yoke, but also of future generations who are denied the opportunity to consolidate and transfer the cultural heritage of their mother tongue to the next generations.
 
The new proposed language policy of the Stellenbosch University is the last convulsion of Afrikaans as a language of instruction after it will most probably be pronounced dead as a language of tertiary instruction at the University of Pretoria, The North West University and the University of the Free State. We demand that the government not only acknowledge the risks associated with it, but also that government give account of what will be done to eradicate the enormous backlog that the other indigenous languages ​​already have at tertiary level.
 
We demand that the members of Stellenbosch University’s Council, who need to vote on this policy on 30 November 2015, cast their votes against the proposed language policy which promotes English at the expense of all indigenous South African languages. We insist that the Council make public to what extent financial considerations and political pressure from the government played a role in forging the new language policy. We further demand that each Board Member makes public his or her vote, so that the general public can be fully informed about the decisions made on their behalf.
 
We finally call on the South African parliament to instruct, as matter of extreme urgency, the parliamentary Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities to investigate the marginalisation of indigenous languages and to make a recommendation on the appointment of universities that can assume proper responsibility for these linguistic interests.
 
PEN Afrikaans
 

 

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Kommentaar

  • Since almost half of the people in the Western Cape state Afrikaans as their first language, is is important that there should be an university in the province which provide tuition in Afrikaans. While I understand that the courses should be accessible to speakers of other languages, I think Afrikaans should stay the primary language of tuition. Racism should go, but this is a thin line that will take much effort on many levels. The other day my daughter went to a dance with some white students. Arriving there she realised that she was the only non-white there. While many of the other people there danced with the other girls in her group, no-one outside her group asked her to dance and the looks she received made it clear that she was not really welcome. These things are things that will not be removed by laws and rules and protests, but by people building relationships across the barriers that still separates us. I am a white Afrikaner and proud of it, My wife a white English women (from England) and my two children English speaking coloured people born in South Africa. What saddens me is that my son who used to see himself as South African first, finds himself rejected by coloured people at school when he speaks in his natural accent and that the white people with whom he would fit in more in terms of the culture he was brought up with, would not be his friends. He now wants to return to England as soon as he finishes school and play his cricket there.

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    Hanno Visagie

    Salomon, do my white children have the human right to marry whites without being labelled as racist?

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    Hanno Visagie

    Uitstekende, weldeurdagte, legitieme verklaring van PEN Afrikaans, behalwe vir die volgende onnodige, foutiewe politieke korrekheidjie: "Ons skaar ons egter in hierdie besef by ons landgenote wat deur die apartheid-regime ... die kans ontneem is om in hul moedertaal kennis te verwerf, hoofsaaklik weens ’n minderwaardige onderwysstelsel bedryf deur mense wat self nie Engels ten volle magtig is nie."

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    Etienne Terblanche

    As a father, I find great sympathy with Salomon. My own children have experienced exclusion from peer groups at school, and it is not easy.

    However, the very welcome, passionate, and balanced PEN manifesto above should be given its significance, which resides on a much larger scale. Of 26 universities in the country, only 2 remain (partially!) Afrikaans. To close them down by way of the slow violence called "parallel medium," given that English is by nature imperialist in the words of Belinda Bozzoli, is totally unfair. It is violent. It is not in the spirit of the birth of the new South Africa.

    Give Afrikaans space to excel, to build itself, also on tertiary level. It will generate money and skill for this country, taking it forward. Afrikaans is an energy not to be wasted without pause for reconsideration.

    The current rush to close it out is symptomatic of the slow violence against it culminating and preparing itself for more slow violence, until Afrikaans, like a beautiful horse, will kick its last kick.

    What will we have achieved?

    Stop taking away. Stop breaking down. Start adding. Start building. Listen to Bishop Tutu when he says Afrikaners have bought into the new dispensation, and that they're a tough bunch that you can bargain on! (Not verbatim.)

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