NEWS & ANALYSIS

VC's decision to Anglicise Stellenbosch University shocking - Afrikanerbond

Jaco Schoeman says Wim de Villiers and his management failed to stand up for the autonomy of their university

University of Stellenbosch – Anglicising takes us back to colonialism

During our meeting in the past week, the National Council of the Afrikanerbond learned with shock of the language proposals of the Stellenbosch University management. This will result in yet another tertiary institution taking the easy route of Anglicisation.

It is clear from the response we received from students, parents and academics that this proposal is an effort towards extreme political correctness. It should simply not be allowed that a university's management succumb to political pressure, as happened in this case.

This proposal by the University of Stellenbosch‘s management towards Anglicisation should be seen in the following context:

- The large Afrikaans community, especially in the Western Cape relied on Afrikaans as default language of instruction at the University of Stellenbosch, and not just as a language which is instructed in passing.

- With this proposal the University of Stellenbosch is joining a number of universities which chose to Anglicise to become yet another English university. We are already beginning to become a community of substandard English speakers and now we also want to provide students with substandard English to the bigger community.

- With these proposals by management it is clear that neither the Vice-Chancellor nor his management in any way stood up for the autonomy of their university.

- Afrikaans is placed on the altar for personal survival.

- The biggest irony however is that the more we talk of moving away from apartheid and colonialism the more we are increasingly colonised through Anglicisation. With this shortsighted decision the Stellenbosch University, denied and ignored the rich diversity of South Africa and Africa as a whole.

We can only express the hope that the Afrikaans community, parents, donors and students will not simply accept the decision. We especially hope that the Council of the University will make a considered and informed decision during the next council meeting.

It is a sad reflection on the university and its management not to be creative with a language policy. The University of Stellenbosch has a rich tradition in the promotion of Afrikaans and it must serve and respect the broad Afrikaans community, especially in the Western Cape. Anglicisation is the easy way out and is not the solution.

Statement issued by Jaco Schoeman, Chairperson of the Afrikanerbond, 15 November 2015