FF+ supports campaign for Afrikaans at Stellenbosch

Anton Alberts says the language is rapidly being downgraded at university


The Freedom Front Plus supports the announcement of former students of the University of Stellenbosch and various prominent civil society organisations that they will be taking steps against the university management due to the systematic downscaling of Afrikaans as primary medium of instruction at the university (see Rapport article). According to Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus' parliamentary spokesperson on higher education, the downscaling of Afrikaans in both basic education at schools and in higher education at universities is now reaching crisis levels.

"The number of Afrikaans schools has since 1994 declined from nearly 2000 to 300 while Afrikaans has been reduced or phased out with rapid strides. Today the former RAU has been transformed to an English language ‘UJ' and Stellenbosch is on the same road," Alberts said.

"I was a student at the former RAU and it is sad to see how the Afrikaans language and ethos have been removed from the institution. I am at present also a master's degree student at the University of Stellenbosch and on this level of education there is very little Afrikaans education to be seen. The problem lies however not with individual faculties or lecturers but with the universities' management which do not support Afrikaans through funding and the establishment of institutional structures. At Stellenbosch it is all the more scandalous as it is the one Afrikaans university which finds itself in South Africa in the midst of an Afrikaans majority demographic," Alberts added.

The FF Plus still supports the recommendations of the Gerwel Commission that there should be at least one primary Afrikaans University in the northern part of the country and one in the southern part of the country. "The government owes it to Afrikaans speakers. The ANC recently created legal rules which protect the cultural goods of indigenous communities by amending various intellectual property rights. If this logic is taken further, government should also protect cultural groups and so also their languages which, amongst others, are the conveyers of cultural expression and transference. That is why the FF Plus will once again be bringing this issue to the attention of the minister of higher education," Alberts said.

Statement issued by Adv. Anton Alberts, FF Plus parliamentary spokesperson: Higher Education, November 7 2011

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