In an article on Netwerk24, lawyer Danie Rossouw, explains why it’s necessary to go to court and fight for the survival of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University. After court proceedings in the middle of May 2016, the battle between AfriForum, the Adam Tas student association and the Stellenbosch University has since been put on the back-burner.
AfriForum’s interim interdict is final and this means that the university is being forced to still apply the existing language policy. But after days of formulation of legal arguments with a lot of clever jurists on the one hand and the coordinating of pure language activism with apolitical giants outside the legal process on the other, it made me wonder, why? Why this fight?
The answer is this: Because to give Afrikaans and English the same adjudication on the Stellenbosch campus, is the right thing to do. Critics often dismiss the court battles and initiatives of people championing Afrikaans as an attempt to satisfy the needs of a specific self-centered group of people. I don’t agree.
Take for example, a boy named Gavin. Gavin – not his real name – is a coloured grade 7 pupil at our local Afrikaans primary school in the Cape Peninsula in the “deep south”. Gavin has big dreams for the future. He wants to go to Jan van Riebeeck High School next year (with a bursary) and afterwards he wants to go study at Stellenbosch University. But unfortunately he is struggling with the English language.
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Image credit: Netwerk24