Political leaders have put English on a pedestal, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele

Author, activist and political thinker Dr Mamphela Ramphele says that despite South Africa's 11 official languages, the country is "effectively a mono-lingual English dominated society."

Ramphele argues that political leaders have made English the language of politics, power, money, prestige and status.

Our leaders would rather speak "broken English" language, instead of couching their messages in the rich idiom of their language.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele

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Ramphele has emphasised the importance of preserving African names and heritage and says that substituting African names is a form of violence.

If the name is taken away and replaced with something which has got no connection... you really are doing serious violence to that child.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele

[Names] are a tool for spiritual connection. Not just with the present people, but also with ancestors and those yet to be born.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele

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She recently published a new book called Dreams, Betrayal and Hope which critiques the current state of affairs in South Africa.

My name is scared and the most powerful tool to protect me against dehumanisation .

Dr Mamphela Ramphele in Dreams, Betrayal and Hope

Ramphele spoke about several themes in her book, including South Africa's failed education system and shortcomings of the ANC government, political leadership and her relationship with Helen Zille.

Take a listen to Eusebius Mckaiser in conversation with Dr Mamphele Ramphele:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Political leaders have put English on a pedestal, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele


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