Can the school sys­tem help pro­mote African lan­guages?

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Lin Young via SMS

As an English-speak­ing South African, I am re­gret­ful that African lan­guages were not of­fered when I went to school. Our chil­dren of all colours need to learn at least one of the lan­guages of the indige­nous peo­ple of our rain­bow na­tion. This is Africa, not England, and no longer a Bri­tish colony. If I were younger, I would start now. My grand­chil­dren are learn­ing an African lan­guage and I am proud of that.

Eric Klaas Western Cape

Let me start by quot­ing Sol Plaatjie: “Let us ma­nip­u­late this English lan­guage for our own ben­e­fit.” No­body is pre­vented by any­thing to use any lan­guage at home. Lan­guage politics only come into play when it comes to eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, ca­reers and so on. As a na­tion in tran­si­tion, with so much to of­fer the world, the time will come for us to choose out of 11 one lan­guage that will be used to unite us. In so do­ing, we would not in any way be pro­mot­ing the English lan­guage – if this is a con­cern. One thing for sure, we can­not use all 11 of­fi­cial lan­guages in deal­ing with the world around us. I re­ally do not see the prob­lem be­cause we are ca­pa­ble of learn­ing and mas­ter­ing any hu­man form of com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Com­ing to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, it is un­fair to put pres­sure on a sys­tem that is al­ready not cop­ing with what it is that it is sup­posed to be do­ing. South African lan­guages are recog­nised in our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. I do not think it is the duty of the sys­tem to pro­tect and pro­mote them. Lastly, lan­guages are like stars. And like stars, they each shine in their own way. That is a re­al­ity we all have to cope with. As a na­tion, we have many things to worry about. Lan­guage is just a tool for com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Madimetja Kganyago Gaut­eng

I don’t un­der­stand why my fel­low Africans are not will­ing to let their chil­dren use and pro­mote our African lan­guages. It doesn’t make sense to re­gard English as a first lan­guage for an African child. Africans, we won’t change from be­ing who we are, let’s be con­tent with our­selves. God didn’t make a mis­take in cre­at­ing us.

Thomas Ben­jamin via SMS

At present, there are ap­prox­i­mately 7 000 lan­guages across the world. By the turn of this cen­tury, this will de­crease to roughly 300. English is a can­ni­bal lan­guage and eats our mother tongues at a rapid rate. In the process we lose our cul­tural iden­tity, her­itage, knowl­edge and in­tel­li­gence. Par­ents are push­ing English as a medium at early child­hood de­vel­op­ment (ECD) cen­tres. The staff are in­com­pe­tent in English. Re­search across the globe in­di­cates that chil­dren who learn in their mother tongue flour­ish as pupils. The great­est dam­age is done at ECD and Grade R lev­els, where chil­dren are taught English be­fore their mother tongues. As an African, I strongly sup­port the pro­posal for a peer re­view sys­tem to be set up. Most of these churches tar­get us black peo­ple. I’m pray­ing for the com­mis­sion and its chair­per­son.

Ed­ward Small Cape Town

I fully agree with the pro­posal of a peer group over­see­ing churches. For a few years I was ver­bally abused by church lead­ers.

Banele Western Cape

In Chris­tian­ity the Bi­ble says ev­ery­one who be­lieves in Je­sus must preach. This is not ne­go­tiable for a bor­na­gain Chris­tian, oth­er­wise you are dis­obey­ing God. Reg­u­la­tion will com­pro­mise this very fun­da­men­tal Chris­tian be­lief. Lead­ers in­volved in dodgy ac­tiv­i­ties in churches must be pros­e­cuted through ex­ist­ing laws. Reg­u­la­tion is def­i­nitely not an op­tion. There is no need to pun­ish or frus­trate the good work God is do­ing in the lives of many and in our coun­try just be­cause of bad peo­ple tak­ing ad­van­tage of the Church for fur­ther­ing their self­ish in­ter­ests.

Sibu­siso Mn­gomezulu Gaut­eng

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