South Africa: School teaching 'kitchen Zulu'

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jul 24 14:50:53 UTC 2008

*School teaching 'kitchen Zulu' *

The chief executive of the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb) told
the Durban equality court on Wednesday that children at a local school "are
taught what we call kitchen Zulu". Ntombenhle Nkosi, who has accused Durban
High School (DHS) of discriminating against her son, said that the school's
language policy was "promoting the subjugation of indigenous languages. Our
children are being taught what we call kitchen Zulu". Nkosi is arguing that
her son, who attended the former Model C school in 2007, was being
discriminated against because he was being taught sub-standard Zulu.

"These languages are still subservient to English and Afrikaans," she said.

  *'These languages are still subservient to English and Afrikaans'*
The main language of instruction at DHS is English. In 2007 the school
offered Zulu and Afrikaans as additional languages.

Nkosi told the court that if the school did not have the resources to offer
her son "proper" Zulu it should have applied to the KwaZulu-Natal education
department for resources to teach pupils at the respective levels in the
languages requested by them.

It was, she said, the responsibility to teach pupils the language of their

"We have to correct [the impression] that English is the home language of
most people in the province," she said.

Maurice Pillemer, who was presenting the case for the school said: "The
school is actually an English language medium school."

He said that the school had made changes to its language policy and that
since the start of this year the school had used its own funds to secure a
Zulu language teacher.

>>From Grade 10 pupils chose whether they wanted to take Zulu or Afrikaans as
an additional language. In grades eight and nine pupils took both Zulu and
Afrikaans as an additional language.

"She was under no compulsion to send the child to this school. The child was
treated like every other child."

He said that in answering a language survey conducted by the school in 2007,
Nkosi had indicated that she wanted her son to do Zulu only.

He said that the court would have to decide whether the school's language
policy in 2007 "constitutes unfair discrimination". The court would also
have to look at the school's current language policy.

Pillemer said that Nkosi "withdrew her son" from the school at the end of
2007 without giving the school any notice. She had also not paid the
outstanding school fees. - Sapa

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