US language police: Forget about the ‘neutral and equal’ state – FF Plus

FF Plus

US language police: Forget about the ‘neutral and equal’ state – FF Plus
US language police: Forget about the 'neutral and equal' state – FF Plus

The FF Plus is disappointed, but not surprised, that the Constitutional Court upheld the University of Stellenbosch language policy that elevates English above Afrikaans as medium of instruction. It is because the South African state is, like all other states, committed to a specific ideology. An in turn, that ideology is linked to an English-speaking black identity.

With the settlement in 1994, many people were under the impression that the new dispensation would be neutral as regards ideology and identity. Everything would be done according to the rules of a liberal democracy. Cultural rights would become superfluous as individual rights would take their place. The right to receive the highest education could, for example, be exercised by individuals.

Over time, however, it became evident that these guarantees were inadequate. Under the guise of ensuring inclusivity, pressure was put on Afrikaans educational institutions.

The requirement now is that every university must be representative of the entire population; and not just the student population. That means that white people (because the government is only interested in race) may not make up more than 12% to 15% of the students or personnel at a given institution.

The progress made in this regard is being closely watched and reported to Parliament.

Recently, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, even displayed an antagonistic attitude towards a private initiative in the field of higher education.

The FF Plus insists that the government must review its approach to cultural diversity and adapt it to be more like Ethiopia’s. In order to maintain national unity, that country went from a unitary state to a cultural federation between 1990 and 1996.

The South African state, on the other hand, seems to be committed to reduce all cultures to a black, English-speaking nation. Where Afrikaans is still tolerated, it may only be for a little while longer. This is the message conveyed by the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the University of Stellenbosch language policy.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr. Wynand Boshoff on FF Plus

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SOURCEFF Plus