South Africa: Boosting isiXhosa helps Afrikaans

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Oct 27 12:53:26 UTC 2006

26/10/2006 12:21 PM - (SA)

Boosting isiXhosa helps Afrikaans

WE must make Afrikaans a language that flows easily from the veins of
people without it becoming a battleaxe for politicians, Western Cape
premier Ebrahim Rasool said at a Cape Town conference on Afrikaans. The
role of Afrikaans as a instrument of nation building that covers a diverse
platform of different races, cultures and religions was discussed. The
accent was placed on the equality of languages and inclusivity.
Representatives of more than 80 Afrikaans and cultural organisations
attended the event, arranged by the Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC)
and the department of cultural affairs and sport.

Michael le Cordeur, chair of the WCLC, emphasised that the development of
Afrikaans must not take place in isolation. What we claim for Afrikaans,
we also grant other languages. The accent must not fall on the battle
between various languages, but rather on reciprocal understanding, he
said. isiXhosa is the sister language of Afrikaans in the Western Cape. If
isiXhosa is developed, it benefits Afrikaans. Therefore we are involved in
the organising of a festival planned to advance isiXhosa, he said.

The fest will be from 13 to 19 November and will take place in Langa,
Guguletu and in the facilities of ArtsCape. Le Cordeur expressed his joy
at seeing the premier of the Western Cape at the conference. He said he
sees a bright future for Afrikaans and that the development of the
language will depend on how it is taken inclusively to the speakers, Le
Cordeur said. Rasool emphasised that the aim must be to make sure the
three languages spoken in the Western Cape (isiXhosa, Afrikaans and
English) enjoy equal status.

Our role is not to only use the language in the spirit of rainbowism, but
to fight for the language, he said. One of the points placed on the agenda
for further discussion was the feeling that more should be done to involve
the youth in the debate about Afrikaans. It was also decided that more
should be done about literacy and the use of Afrikaans as a scientific
language. More attention should also be given to the development of
multi-lingualism, including sign language, and to the marketing of
Afrikaans. According to Le Cordeur the WCLC will in future closely check
to see if the language policy expected to be followed by all spheres of
government is applied.

The forming of partnerships was discussed. The idea is to create a strong
network that will enhance Afrikaans.,,433-441-444_2020977~E,00.html


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