Language Policy (South Africa), cont'd:

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri May 27 13:10:40 UTC 2005

Will a dual language policy lead to clashes between Afrikaans and

"All the president's girls"

By Sheena Adams

In addition to spending a day in the Presidency, four girls have also got
President Thabo Mbeki to take their fears, opinions and suggestions to the
podium in the National Assembly. And while they agreed that yesterday was
a valuable learning experience, at least one admitted that, after a 6am
start, any ambition to becoming president of the country had flown out the
window. The four - Anelisa Balfour, Celiwe Luthuli, Lauren Hendricks and
Noluvuyo Sixolo - were guests of the Presidency as part of Cell C's Take a
Girl Child to Work initiative yesterday.

Presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said the girls were put to some
"real work", from making calls to helping draft Mbeki's reply to the
presidential budget debate delivered in parliament. They spoke to US
ambassador Jendayi Frazer about the president's upcoming trip to
Washington and helped process a submission dealing with the proposed
appointment of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel as acting president next
week, when both Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma will be out of the

Anelisa (15), of Byletts Combined School in the Eastern Cape, said she
"maybe" wanted to work in the Presidency for a year after matriculating.
"He (Mbeki) is very hard-working and has to deal with a lot of challenges.
He helps so many countries, but it is so much work for one person to do.
"People portray politicians in such a bad light, but the president is very
different. He is a very humble man and he listens to what you have to
say," she said.

Mbeki told the National Assembly that the girls had asked him to speak
about education, housing, health and black economic empowerment (BEE),
among other things. Quoting them, he said there "shouldn't be complaints
within our society"  about the BEE programme. "It is important that the
BEE programme continue so as to bring in people who have been excluded in
the past," he said.

The girls also raised the question of gender parity and the availability
of anti-retroviral drugs for pregnant women. Mbeki said they had also
discussed a proposed language policy for schools and added that many felt
a dual policy would lead to clashes between, for instance, Afrikaans and

sheenaa at

 Published on the web by Star on May 27, 2005.

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