Being Frank with Mac- AFRIKAANS-not for my kids!
Blog by MacFarlane Moleli
I want to start by saying that this is not a racial issue nor is it a political issue, however Afrikaans needs to fall! I am not writing this because I am some bitter darkie that has issues with the oppressor’s language. Or because I am still carrying hateful baggage from the past, which was caused by an apartheid regime who used their language to instil fear into the hearts of many Africans. No, that is not what I am trying to do. I am writing this blog as a parent, a father and a happy South African. I do not want my child to learn Afrikaans at school, I really do not see a need for it and I feel that they will gain nothing from learning the language. What really upsets me the most is the fact that after 22 years of democracy, we as black people still need to be discussing this matter; why are our children still subjected to learning Afrikaans?
The class of 1976 died for the right not to be taught in Afrikaans, their struggle nourished the soil that gave birth to our young democracy. Don’t get me wrong I can speak Afrikaans and I can speak it very well. You see… My dad’s twin sister was married to a coloured man from a township called Bronville in Welkom, which was inhabited by mainly coloured Afrikaans speaking people. I loved my aunt and growing up in Welkom I would visit her as often as possible and I got to learn the language and spoke it very well. So you see for me it wasn’t an issue of it being forced down my throat I actually enjoyed speaking it and thought it was quite cool.
You see, back then if you could speak Afrikaans you blended in quite well when you were in the township because Tsotsi Taal had a lot of Afrikaans in it.
Fast forward to 2016 and I am faced with a huge problem in my house. My son goes to school at Trinity House, Little Falls in Ruimsig and he is forced to learn Afrikaans. Why, why should he be forced to learn Afrikaans? I know that they have English, Zulu and Afrikaans as language choices however he has to do Afrikaans. Why can he not do English and Zulu? Why are we paying such exorbitant fees, yet as black parents we still see our kids being forced to learn a language we do not want? My wife is from Lesotho and was fortunate enough not to learn Afrikaans at school, so because I travel a lot I’m sometimes not at home, which means there is no one to help my kids with their Afrikaans homework. Needless to say my son does terribly in Afrikaans and thus his overall marks drop as a result. Is this fair, is it fair that once again the black child is disadvantaged because he is forced to learn Afrikaans, a language that caused bloodshed stress and strife for an entire nation?
The worst part about all of this is how the languages are actually taught at his school. There is a greater emphasis and depth that is given to Afrikaans than that which is given to Zulu. He learns the most elementary and basic terms, phrases and topics in Zulu. Yet when it comes to Afrikaans they go so deep into making sure our kids learn the language; trappe van vergelyking, begripstoets, bywoorde etc… why? If the two languages are both seen as secondary languages why must the other one prevail over the other? What could be the main and sole reason given for this unfair treatment of an African language over Afrikaans? Frankly I do not care that they are following CAPS and this is what the department has approved.
It is simple. I do not want my child to do Afrikaans. I would rather they learn Zulu and English. I am not trying to be controversial or jump onto the Afrikaans must fall bandwagon. This is a frustration, which is shared by many black parents who take their kids to these schools. I know this for a fact because we are always speaking about this issue and many of us have come to a point where we want to do something about it. Sometime at the beginning of this month I read a post by poet and musician Khethi Nthsangase about this very same issue. The saddest thing about what she had written is that when she approached the principal at her child’s school about the matter, she was told that she can remove her child from the school if she doesn’t like Afrikaans. The arrogance and total disdain of some people is incredibly frustrating and it really needs to stop. There are many parents that are also fed-up. However, a place where this issue can be constructively dealt with is yet to be.
This has nothing to do with a hatred of Afrikaans. This is truly an effort for us come together and really work together as parents and institutions to change the status quo. I would like everyone to engage in dealing with this issue in a cohesive and strategic manner to bring about real change in this country.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Kaya FM.