No isiZulu, no money

Finweek English Edition - - Nothing Sacred -

MY OLD SCHOOL Dur­ban High – was in the news re­cently over a case brought by a pupil’s mother who be­lieved that her son, whose home lan­guage is isiZulu, was be­ing taught “kitchen Zulu” at the school rather than at the higher level at which, she claimed, English and Afrikaans were be­ing taught.

It emerged in the equal­ity court the mother was in a fi­nan­cial dis­pute with the school over un­paid fees. Her stance was that she with­held the fees be­cause the stan­dard of her son’s lessons in isiZulu were un­ac­cept­able to her and she was thus not get­ting value for money.

Sapa re­ported that be­tween 80% and 90% of the pupils in the same year were English mother tongue speak­ers and the English taught at the school was at the high­est level pos­si­ble. Afrikaans and isiZulu were of­fered as ad­di­tional lan­guages but Afrikaans, though at a level lower than English, was at a higher level than isiZulu. The school now of­fers isiZulu in grade 10 at the same level as it does Afrikaans but not at the level at which it of­fers English.

In its find­ings the court said there was no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to dis­crim­i­nate against the isiZulu speak­ers and not the Afrikaans speak­ers in KwaZulu-Natal, where isiZulu pre­dom­i­nates. How­ever, it added it couldn’t find, as it had been asked to, that isiZulu be taught at the same level as English. Mag­is­trate John San­ders said that while he sup­ported trans­for­ma­tion, this would im­pose an ideal that no school in the coun­try meets.

The boy is now at a school in Gaut­eng, where he stud­ies isiZulu as a sec­ond lan­guage.

All this is very sad when one re­mem­bers that 60 years ago many of the boys at DHS were from farms and grew up speak­ing isiZulu flu­ently.

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