“I am not against Afrikaans”- Nzimande


Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, has denied allegations that he is against Afrikaans after stating in an interview with Sunday newspaper, Rapport, that he will not hesitate in withdrawing the registration of the private Afrikaans-only Akademia University in Centurion. The university was first established 2011 and is affiliated with Afrikaans trade union, Solidarity.

“This is not a stand against Afrikaans as a language. To be honest, we respect Afrikaans. We want to learn from Afrikaans on how it has managed to develop from a so-called “kitchen” language to one being used to teach academics and science. It is our own language. We don’t want to destroy it,” Nzimande said.

“I am not an enemy of Afrikaans. My late brother was an Afrikaans second language teacher who loved the language. He always spoke about its importance and that everyone needs to learn and understand it”.

Nzimande stated that he is simply trying to have universities maintain the rainbow nation principle which allows for any South African to study at any institution regardless of race or language.

“It was an Afrikaans-speaking National Party regime that caused the 1976 bloodbath as a result of forcing schools to teach in Afrikaans. We have to learn from the past that this is not a good idea. Now we are being blamed while many people in the townships simply hate Afrikaans due to losing a brother or a sister in the 1976 uprising.

“Just because this is a private institution, does not give them the right to discriminate against other students. We will not tolerate this. In fact, we will withdraw their licenses and won’t apologise. There is unfortunately no place for racist institutions - no place”.

Speaking to the paper, Solidarity Chairman, Flip Buys, said that he is not worried about Nzimande’s claims, as they had done nothing wrong.

“We have had good relations with the Department of Higher Education over the last three years, mainly because we have proved ourselves. We have received no complaints from the department, hence we don’t foresee any problems going forward,” Buys said.

“Our eventual dream is to expand Akademia into having an Afrikaans version of Harvard, which is also a private university”.