Language is not a weapon
Language is culture. Language is a tool. Language is not a weapon. Puo ke moetlo. Puo ke sediriswa. Mme ebile ga e dirisiwe jaaka sebetsa.
Taal is kultuur. Taal is ’n hulpmiddel. Taal is nie ’n wapen nie.
Lulwimi lulusiko. Lulwimi luyakha. Lulwimi akusiso sikhali.
Luambo ndi tshishumiswa tsha u fhata hu si u vhulahana, ndi mvelele ya lushaka lunwe na lunwe.
Ririmi I mfuwo. Ririmi I xitirho. Ririmi a hi xodlayi.
Ulwimi luyisiko. Ulwimi luyakha. Ulwimi akusona isikhali.
Polelo ke setjo. Polelo ke sedirishwa. Polelo gase sebetja.
Language is a means of expression. It is Being able to speak in our mother tongue is a right derived from being human.
Language is how we learn, so it is a tool. But it should never be a weapon or an obstacle.
In the documentary Luister (Listen), University of Stellenbosch students reveal that language is viewed as a weapon, an exercise in power, not something cultural or a tool of communication.
It also suggested that Stellenbosch’s race zealots try to use language as a means of ownership (the university is “ours”) and black students say that the dual language of instruction is implemented in a patchy fashion.
It needn’t be. The UN and its various agencies bring together people who speak in many tongues. Their systems of translation and communications provide a ready template on how to make multilingualism work in action.
Today, technology is cheap and an enabling translation and interpretation system would give work to many linguistics graduates.
The vicious racism that black students complain about in the documentary makes Xolela Mangcu’s call for us to become a multiracial and antiracist democracy a resounding one. It’s time to start thinking about whether nonracialism should be our principal pivot. Is it time to replace it with antiracism?
Tell us what you think.