EDITORIAL | Afrikaans is a cultural celebration of SA’s diversity
The Constitutional Court has rightfully handed Afrikaans a lifeline to continue as a language of learning at Unisa
The Constitutional Court handed down judgment last week on the University of SA’s (Unisa) 2016 decision to adopt a new language policy and discontinue Afrikaans as a language of learning. The apex court ruled the move to halt Afrikaans classes was in contravention of the constitution, rendering Unisa’s decision invalid. This came after a five-year legal battle between Unisa and AfriForum, which described the court ruling as a “victory for Afrikaans, Afrikaans-speaking students and language rights in SA”.
The ConCourt judges were in agreement with the Supreme Court of Appeal, which last June reviewed and set aside Unisa’s policy to adopt a revised language policy.
At first glance, the judgment may appear to some to be unfair - why should the language of apartheid still be used as a language of tuition, 27 years after the dawn of democracy? English is not only the language most spoken and understood by all South Africans but also a world language. It seems logical and practical for this to be the preferred option. Apart from that argument, SA has 11 official languages, so why, so many years after the end of apartheid, are so few of these used in formal channels of communication?..