[lg policy] South Africa: 'Afrikaans must go'

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue May 31 11:02:08 EDT 2016

‘Afrikaans must go’
news/south-africa/gauteng <http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng>
31 May 2016 at 10:26am

Pretoria - The University of Pretoria moved a step closer towards changing
its language policy when the transformation lekgotla adopted a proposal
that English be the only medium of instruction for lectures, assessments
and tutorials.

The lekgotla sat at the weekend, barely a week after students threatened to
disrupt mid-year exams due to the continued use of Afrikaans plus the
related culture.

It was attended by management, academic staff, student leaders and various
political movements represented on campus.

The groups tabled their reports based on consultations conducted since the
last sitting in March.

Student Representative Council (SRC) leader Thabo Shigange said the
lekgotla received reports from the work streams such as language,
curriculum transformation as well as institutional and residence culture.
It also engaged on the report and subsequently adopted the recommended

“The policy proposed English as the only medium of instruction for
lectures, assessments and tutorials. It is our responsibility as the SRC to
have the policy passed through senate on June 2 before the council sitting
of June 30.”

AfriForum representatives were apparently not happy about the adopted

Shigange confirmed the adoption of recommended language policy was agreed
without AfriForum, whose members disagreed and subsequently left halfway
through proceedings. The Pretoria News could not reach the organisation for

“The university has undergone language changes before. This is nothing new;
the university must adapt to its current nature. This is a process UP
cannot deny nor escape,” Shigange said.

University spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said the recommendations made at
the lekgotla were exactly that: recommendations. The lekgotla had no
decision-making powers. Only the council, with the agreement of the senate,
could determine the language policy at UP, she said.

The war against the Afrikaans language and culture at UP first flared up in
February, leading to violence and suspension of classes. At least 27
student leaders were arrested and charged with public violence and
malicious damage to property. At the time, students ran amok and damaged
property, leading to the suspension of all academic activities for days.


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