Quick question: Why are non-Afrikaans speaking students still required to learn it?

Internet meme

Am I missing something?

I know. This is totally off topic to the matter at hand. Millions of South African students are currently out of school (except the ones with a little more money). This is all due to a pandemic that started as small cold, now spreading like a bad rash.

Even so, I thought I could lay off the corona for a quick second and ask a very random question.

Well, it’s not very random. Last night I watched a hilarious video of four black students recording themselves reading out an Afrikaans school activity. I use ‘reading out’ very carefully because they were mostly mumbling and fumbling.

It was a true “Yho, hah ah” moment.

These kids abhor Afrikaans. It frustrates them to the very core of their beings. You know that terrible feeling of something being forcefully shoved down your throat? You don’t suddenly build a liking towards it. Instead, that fuels your dislike. I would imagine this is what learning Afrikaans feels like for the non-Afrikaans speaking folk.

I went to a Kasi school, so “give me zero, mam”. My husband, however, was fortunate enough to have the resources to exit the freeway on his way to school. I showed him the video and it resonated with him from the moment I pressed play.

He watched it five times until tears came out of his eyes.

He remembered those embarrassing classroom moments of his black mates fumbling through Afrikaans and being laughed at and ridiculed. They probably never felt bad because they had plenty of turns to laugh and ridicule someone else.

I would like to understand why we still have a generation of students who don’t speak Afrikaans at home or with their friends, required to learn the language. Even then, why was my generation required to?

Show me the application form or interview that I would have rocked if my pronunciation of mam and meneer was a little more eloquent.

Just in case you actually have no idea how to pronounce meneer, here’s a quick link. Yes. There is a link.

One would argue that the removal of Afrikaans as a choice of an additional language would require an entire school system reboot. If we don’t take Afrikaans as an option, what do we take?

Honestly, I am not sure, but we have nine options.

The numbers don’t lie:

In June 2019, Business Tech reported that the three most spoken languages in South African homes are isiZulu, isiXhosa, and Sepedi at 25.3%, 14.8%, and 10/1% respectively. 61.2% of white South Africans speak Afrikaans inside their homes, with only 37.2% speaking it outside their households.

Coloured people own the Afrikaans cup, coming in at a whopping 77.4%.

The same report shows that only 0.9% of black people speak Afrikaans in their home, with 1% speaking it outside the house. For Indian people at home, only 1.3%. Together, black and Indian people account for less than 3% of Afrikaans speakers either inside or outside the home.

So, CLEARLY, black and Indian people have no use for this language. So can whites and coloureds please handle their business and we can handle ours?

Who should we write an open letter to, and what must the hashtag be called, cause something has got to give.

In case you are wondering what sparked all of this, here is the video:

Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day. 

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