As of 2016, Mandarin will be formally offered as an optional extra in South African schools.
The biggest criticism of the planned introduction comes from the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu), which claims adding mandarin to the curriculum is another form of colonisation.
Stephen spoke to Elijah Mhlanga of the Department of Basic Education, who says that the department is not quite clear on why there is such objection over the addition of Mandarin, particularly as this is optional.
We are not dedicating our resources for Mandarin to flourish, we are just availing it as an option. We have incremental introduction of African languages, that's a project we are funding and spending energy and resources to, that is our priority.— Elijah Mhlanga, Department of Basic Education
Listen to the conversation below: