Home

Afrikaans Dropped As Primary Language At The University Of Pretoria

By Sharelle Burt

Share

The students at the University of Pretoria are experiencing a culture shock.

The South African university has decided to drop Afrikaans as the official language, switching over to English. According to many students, English is the preferred language while learning. The move has sparked discussion on Twitter from students and non-students alike, talking about the new policy. The Minister of Finance of South Africa, Tio Mboweni, tweeted his disagreement with the move.

Others chimed in on how they feel as well.

Historically, the Afrikaans language policy was used to keep black learners in a country where racism was deeply rooted. The word apartheid is, in fact, an Afrikaans word.

RELATED: South African Asks Hilarious Questions With #AmericaCanIAsk Hashtag On Twitter

South Africa has 11 different languages spoken throughout the country:  Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, English, Sesotho, Xitsonga, Siswati, Tshivenda and Ndebele. They were constitutionally recognized in an effort to end institutional racism and come to grips with South Africa’s historical divisions. “In an ideal world we would like all languages to have equal status in teaching, but it’s not practically possible or feasible, so not a lot happens in other languages,” the University of Pretoria’s spokesman said. “The university will still encourage multilingualism. We’ll offer support services to students in their enrolment – where practically possible – in their home language.”


The change started at the start of the year but was set back in 2016 with numerous student protests starting across the region, creating hashtags like #AfrikaansMustFall and #FeesMustFall.

Even though the university is embracing multiple languages, the demand for Afrikaans-language teaching is dropping. Eighty-five percent of students come from Afrikaans-speaking households back in 2016, and only 18 percent of students said they wanted classes in Afrikaans. “Afrikaans will be phased out over time,” the school’s spokesman said. “Students already in the pipeline will still continue getting their classes in Afrikaans.”

Pro-Afrikaner civil rights group AfriForum think otherwise, they even accused the university of lying in its changes to languages policy. “They got it wrong. They associated it with the appointment of the new vice-chancellor – but I don’t know where they got that impression because the change has been coming for some time”. Millions of residents in the country still speak the language but this move is supposed to help others who don’t speak the language still feel welcome, especially in an educational setting.

Share
Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Unruly Passengers Are On The Rise & Here’s How They Get Away With It

Unruly Passengers Are On The Rise & Here’s How They Get Away With It

The number of disruptive passengers is increasing in the friendly skies, according to a report from the International Air Transport Association. The numbers, which were released back in 2017,  revealed that there is at least one unruly passenger for every 1,053 flights compared to the incident rate of one incident every 1,424 flights. IATA categorizes […]

Parker Diakite

Can You Guess Which Airline Mishandles The Most Bags In The Nation?

Can You Guess Which Airline Mishandles The Most Bags In The Nation?

With a sharp increase in canceled flights and a battle with union mechanics, it’s been a rough summer for American Airlines and their troubles don’t stop there. Turns out, they have a problem with handling passengers’ baggage as well. The airline recently ranked near the bottom in mishandled bags this year among major airliners, according […]

Parker Diakite

Wild Parties At Muhammad Ali’s Mansion Cause South Jersey Town To Ban Airbnbs

Wild Parties At Muhammad Ali’s Mansion Cause South Jersey Town To Ban Airbnbs

Some residents in New Jersey’s Cherry Township have had enough of the “wild parties” and “disruptions” at a home once owned by boxing legend Muhammad Ali. And it appears that county leaders are on their side after the Cherry Hill Township Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would ban Airbnb and other short-term rentals within […]

Parker Diakite