Who are the custodians of Afrikaans?
Afrikaans is still perceived by many as an exclusionary tool and the language of the oppressor.
However, the language debate in South Africa isn't as clear cut as many South Africans like to believe.
This is according to activist Zackie Achmat and HuffPost SA editor Pieter du Toit, who debated the nuanced dynamics and history of Afrikaans in the country.
The discussion comes in light of the court decision to approve the University of the Free State's (UFS) change from dual medium Afrikaans and English to an English medium education institution.
Du Toit says that while language can be used as a tool for exclusion and discrimination, there are dangers in using Afrikaans as a political scapegoat.
Achmat says that although single language institutions are not inherently discriminatory, context always matters.
Afrikaans doesn't belong to any single group, individual or organisation.— Pieter du Toit, author and journalist
It's a tragedy that Afrikaans has become a political football over the years.— Pieter du Toit, author and journalist
It's almost impossible to divorce Afrikaans from its history as a protest language.— Pieter du Toit, author and journalist
Afrikaans has had institutional advantages since 1948, we can't deny it.— Pieter du Toit, author and journalist
The evidence lies in the context. We cannot divorce it from the people who speak it.— Zackie Achmat, activist
Afrikaans was born as a peoples language and, unfortunately, it was claimed by the white middle classes - particularly by the white nationalists classes, which became very dangerous.— Zackie Achmat, activist
Take a listen to the riveting, in-depth discussion:
Being Afrikaans myself, I think I have become "anti-Afrikaans" because of the conservative white Afrikaners use of the language to "unify" whites and also because it is often used as a means of exclusion.— 🐰Jua (Juanita Catherine) van Zyl🐰 (@JuavanZyl) January 9, 2018
Love the discussion. We need more positive Afrikaans influences. ❤️
I try and make a point of referring to myself as 'Afrikaans speaking' instead of Afrikaner as the latter conjures are very particular kind of person...— Stephan Lombard (@stephlombard) January 9, 2018
Afrikaans is not indigenous to white afrikaners yet they claim it. They adopted it from the Cape slaves. Yet they act as if they have given us the language— IlhaamK (@Ilhaam_Kriel) January 9, 2018
When @ZackieAchmat said he was in solidarity with the black people in June 1976, marching against his mother tongue. That was deep @Eusebius. I will be waiting for the podcast. This discussion is deep!— General (@LukheleSipho) January 9, 2018