Response to letter of Dr Smith

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For immediate release:

LitNet, 6 May 2021

University of Fort Hare responds to misleading letter by Dr Susan Smith

The University of Fort Hare is disappointed in a misleading letter with unfounded statements published by Dr Susan Smith on LitNet. In the letter, Dr Smith deprives readers of important information and other developments, resulting in an unbalanced piece that was contextually distorted.

The fact that the letter was issued moments after a meeting where the author had participated with other colleagues in the language disciplines and personally presented proposals on Afrikaans which were still being deliberated on, illustrates to us bad faith participation and an intention to portray the faculty and university in a negative light.

While the letter purports to deal with the status loss and marginalisation of Afrikaans in higher education, the author advances a narrative of institutional discrimination based on her “personal experiences in the past week with those sitting in high management chairs”.  This simply is not true.

Concerningly, she fails to mention to readers that the performance of all programmes and modules in all faculties and departments of the University of Fort Hare are under review following an independent academic assessment review process and exercise in 2018/19. It is not discrimination, but a process of renewal and reinvention.

Dr Smith will be unable to provide proof of her misleading claim that the department’s doors have been shut as the misleading headline of her letter suggests. At the time of the University of Fort Hare authoring this response, no decision has been taken by the senate.

It simply was irresponsible of the author to publish a letter with a misleading headline implying Afrikaans programmes and modules will be discontinued at the university, when this is still being discussed.

On the points raised in the piece that the University of Fort Hare is financially unstable and under administration, the university strongly refutes these allegations. The author is fully aware that the university received a clean bill of health and was lifted out of administration in 2020.

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  • Henning Janse van Vuuren

    Aldus Naamloos aan UFH en by implikasie: “Her favorite position is beside herself, and her favorite sport is jumping to conclusions.” — Daniel Kahneman. Goed dan, laat die senaat praat.

  • And for being lifted out of administration, there must be some conditions, not so? Such as reviewing the status quo under the cover of a review. And then changing your language policy like US did? It is all very clear actually. Systemic discrimination and marginalisation. Prove us wrong and maintain the status of all languages at the same level. Or are the UFH also a puppet which believes the utter rubbish of the SA government that Afrikaans is not indigenous to the country. Is English then? Is the label of colonialism more acceptable than that of apartheid?

  • Theodorus du Plessis

    Ons almal weet tog dat alvorens die betrokke universiteit se Senaat nie die aanbeveling om Afrikaans te sluit, aanvaar het nie daar inderdaad "nog nie 'n besluit geneem is nie". Maar ons weet ook (uit Kovsies en Maties se taalbesluitnemingsprosesse geleer) dat die Senaat meestal net die spreekwoordelike rubberstempel toevoeg tot 'n reeds ooreengekome besluit. Inderdaad vreemd dat ons 'n anonieme respons kry en een wat die indruk skep dat die respondent omgekrap is oor die opskrif van Susan se stuk. En wat wel bevestig dat daar inderdaad 'n sluitingsbesluit ter tafel lê wat natuurlik net 'n stempeltjie moet kry. Dus 'n heel onvanpaste en onbruikbare respons, jonges!

  • Stel tog net wat jy te sê het, sodat ons dit dadelik kan vasstel. Die oomblik dat mens so rondtrippel om 'n punt te maak, raak ek wantrouig.

  • Well said Nicolaas, the reality is, nothing that the ANC government says has any credibility anymore. Since its takeover it's been on a slippery slope to nowhere.
    Right now the metro train service has completely imploded in the country's main commercial hub. Thousands of commuters are at their wit's end to find affordable alternatives. Rail infrastructure has been systematically destroyed and stolen, including perimeter fencing around West Rand stations. 30,000 daily bus commuters in Johannesburg have faced driver strike action for weeks now, with no end in sight and so transport here is on its knees. Local authorities by the score across the country are totally fractured by incapable management. Even health department associates are now accused of having profited by crucial pandemic relief funding, and that is the subject of investigation as we write. Let's not pussyfoot about things, Afrikaans is being destroyed by the same sub-standard ANC thought process and management in every direction, and the rot will not cease anytime soon, if ever.
    The best the ANC and its wide spectrum of incompetent supporters can do is 'step aside' and allow sense to prevail.
    But that's just a pipe dream, with no end but nightmare.
    Best to emigrate folks, take your sterling expertise and language beyond African shores, far beyond.

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