NWU following in the footsteps of UFS and UP concerning Afrikaans
12 March 2018
The North West University (NWU) is following in the footsteps of the University of the Free State (UFS) and the University of Pretoria (UP) with regard to their language policy on Afrikaans. The vice-chancellor Prof Dan Kgwadi is being hypocritical by trying to reassure NWU alumni that the university’s language policy will remain multilingual. That is exactly the same assurance that the UFS and the UP gave their alumni.
The modus operandi is clear: the language policy of the NWU’s new statute, which was adopted in March 2017, provides that the language policy “must be flexible and functional, and must redress language imbalances of the past and promote multilingualism, access, integration and a sense of belonging.”
When it comes to the practical application of the policy, it means that amended language policies will be implemented. Documents that were leaked indicate that the plan is to systematically phase out Afrikaans in courses and that a transition is intended, after which no first-year-level classes will be presented in Afrikaans by the year 2021. This is exactly the same route that Kovsies (UFS) and Tuks (UP) followed.
The so-called consultation process is no more than a smokescreen, just like with the colours of the NWU. The greater majority were opposed to the purple and in favour of the maroon, but then the purple was simply implemented.
Afrikaans-speaking students have a constitutional right to receive their education in Afrikaans, but their right is being violated and even ignored by the Constitutional Court, like in the case of Kovsies. Keeping one out of the 38 university campuses in the country predominantly Afrikaans certainly is not asking too much.
Pres. Ramaphosa’s office has already indicated that he is willing to meet with me to discuss the issue of land and then I will also raise this issue of Afrikaans at the NWU.
Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 12 March 2018