Conversations around the decolonisation of education in South Africa are often held alongside calls for the "weeding out" of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools.
Just last month AfriForum accused Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi of having a negative attitude towards the Afrikaans language in respect of his ongoing fight for nonracialism in schools in the province.
But Stellenbosch journalism student Lia Snijman says that multilingualism - which includes Afrikaans - is "essential if we want all South Africans to have the opportunity to flourish".
Snijman completed her undergraduate degree in Afrikaans and Dutch, English and French, at Stellenbosch University.
I definitely think it would be better for everybody if they are able to do a part of their education in their own home language.— Lia Snijman, Journalism honours student - Stellenbosch University
Says she understands why Panyaza Lesufi disapproves of Afrikaans-only schools, but argues that the resources used to preserve Afrikaans can similarly be used for African languages.
"What we as Afrikaans-speaking people need to understand is that if our language that originated in Africa wants to thrive, then other African languages need to thrive as well." - Decolonise education — by including Afrikaans, Daily Maverick article.
We should look at the way Afrikaans has been able to develop, obviously not going to follow the whole excluding other languages to build up a language, but looking at what kind of resources we should invest in.— Lia Snijman, Journalism honours student - Stellenbosch University
I think we could use some of our resources as the Afrikaans community to help other communities.— Lia Snijman, Journalism honours student - Stellenbosch University
Today, we formally approved the renaming of Höerskool HF Verwoerd to Rietodale Secondary School. My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system. Others names like Jan Smuts will also fall #NomoreHöerskoolHFVerwoerd pic.twitter.com/pUdoq3KkQJ— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) May 20, 2019
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Decolonizing the classroom doesn't mean scrapping Afrikaans'