[lg policy] South Africa: ‘Why we’re bringing #AfrikaansMustFall back’

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu May 26 10:56:55 EDT 2016


‘Why we’re bringing #AfrikaansMustFall back’

26 May 2016 at 07:58am
*By:* *VIRGILATTE GWANGWA*

Pretoria - Students at the University of Pretoria have threatened to
disrupt mid-year exams if the impasse regarding the proposed change in
language policy and culture was not resolved.

At the same time, AfriForum is offering R20 000 each to one student at four
universities - including Pretoria - who vote for teaching to be conducted
Afrikaans.

The war against the Afrikaans language and culture at the university,
commonly referred to as UP or Tuks, has flared up again in the past few
days - barely three months after a similar campaign led to chaos and
suspension of classes.

This time around, the students have threatened to hit where it hurts most
by ensuring that exams do not go ahead. The exams start in about a week.

The students claim that management resolved to continue promoting Afrikaans
at the expense of other languages.

Subsequently, messages started appearing at the Hatfield campus denouncing
the use of Afrikaans.

These were spray-painted on walls and corridors during the university’s
open day last weekend.

EFF Student Command spokesman Lungile Sonwabo told the Pretoria News the
university still had events where white and Afrikaner culture was
celebrated and imposed on black students.

Because of that, he said, the #AfrikaansMustFall movement had resumed.
“Students are fed-up with the suppression they’ve suffered at the
university.

“UP management has shown little or no commitment to transformation; there
has been absolutely no progress in the disciplinary charges of black
student leaders involved in the protests last time.”

At least 27 student leaders were arrested and charged with public violence
and malicious damage of property after the February protests against
Afrikaans being used as prime medium of instruction.

At the time, the students ran amok and damaged property during the
protracted protests, leading to the suspension of all academic activities
for several days.

Student Representative Council leader Thabo Shishanga said the issue was
not about replacing Afrikaans with English during lectures. “The issue is
around Afrikaans as a culture and the overall system in the university,” he
said.

“Students need to understand that this is a process and it will not happen
overnight. There are procedures that need to be followed.

“We need to put in qualitative arguments and base them on research in order
for the transformation to happen.”

He added that the EFF Student Command and AfriForum had pulled out of the
process.

University spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said they were committed to
finding solutions through dialogue and consultation, including issues
around the language policy.

Bouwer said they made considerable progress since the protests in February.
“Recommendations, including some for the language policy, will be submitted
at the next meetings of the senate and council,” she said.

Bouwer said the university was committed to addressing all issues raised by
students.

“We urge all stakeholders to engage in dialogue so that we develop policies
that truly reflect the values of our community.

“Investigations are ongoing, in keeping with the disciplinary code, for
those responsible for spray-painting the buildings,” she said.

Morne Mostert, of AfriForum, meanwhile urged students to support the
#AfrikaansSalBly campaign to stand a chance to win the prize money, which
would go towards tuition.

Mostert said the campaign targeted the Tuks, Stellenbosch and North West
university's Potchefstroom campuses as well as that of the University of
the Free State.

“It is everyone’s right to be taught in their mother tongue,” he said.

Department of Higher Education and Training spokesman Fanie Ngoma said
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande intervened at Tuks and advised
students and management to resume the language policy dialogue.

Any outstanding issues would have to resolve internally, he added.

“We condemn any disruption of the academic programme, violence and other
acts of lawlessness,” Ngoma added.

virgilatte.gwangwa at inl.co.za

http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/why-were-bringing-afrikaansmustfall-back-2026394


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