If the Basic Education Act Amendment Bill (Bela) becomes law, it will give the state the power to determine public schools’ language policy. This is worrying because the ANC government’s history shows that they are out to destroy Afrikaans as a language of instruction in public education.
There are dozens of examples of where the government has put pressure on single medium Afrikaans schools to become parallel medium Afrikaans and English. With a few exceptions, demographic reality eventually led to those schools becoming monolingual English. The false argument that English is introduced as a language of instruction simply to ensure “accessibility” is therefore nothing more than the anti-Afrikaans government’s cover to get rid of Afrikaans as a language of instruction.
The same bogus argument of accessibility was also misused by the ANC authorities to get rid of Afrikaans at tertiary level among Tukkies and Kovsies among others. Unfortunately, the same process is also currently playing out at the few remaining public tertiary institutions where Afrikaans is still one of the languages of instruction.
Afrikaner and brown African communities
Afrikaans schools play a key role in preserving the language and culture in predominantly Afrikaner and colored Afrikaans communities. Threatening the continued existence of Afrikaans public schools is therefore nothing other than an act of aggression by the government to commit cultural ethnic cleansing. Of course this is a harsh statement, but it may be time for the ANC’s plans to be openly pointed out.
The counter-argument is sometimes made that our fellow African peoples here at the southern tip of Africa’s cultures do continue to exist despite the tragedy that their children only receive mother tongue education up to grade 4. It is, however, not correct. Many members of these peoples lose their cultural identity especially in urban areas, and this has catastrophic consequences. The lack of mother tongue education inevitably leads to poorer performance at school, and the “descent” in many cases leads to the decay of authority orders, family values and community values. The tragic result of this is ever-growing poverty and decay.
The preservation of our fellow Africans’ cultures are their geographical traditional areas where their leaders still keep the cultures alive. Afrikaners currently do not have a multitude of such cultural regions. Within this context, it is more than understandable that a growing number of Afrikaners are currently working hard to establish a cultural area in the Orania region where the ANC’s attack on our language and culture (as planned with the Bela bill) can be successfully repelled . This is confirmed by the strong growth in development and population that Orania is currently experiencing.
In the past, Orania was branded as a fringe phenomenon, but more and more people realize that it is normal that Afrikaners, just like our fellow Africans with whom we share this beautiful country, may also have a cultural area. It is also normal that different cultural communities can cooperate with each other on a basis of mutual recognition and respect. AfriForum has already concluded cooperation agreements with several African cultural communities and this has practically led to successful agricultural projects in such communities.
The reality is that the majority of members of cultural communities cannot live in cultural regions, therefore cultural groups must fight and build to ensure that cultural transfer can also take place effectively outside the cultural regions. The Solidarity Movement, of which AfriForum is a proud part, has a plan to cooperate in various ways to help secure the future of world-class Afrikaans education. This plan includes, among other things, the following.
The preservation of mother tongue education in Afrikaans schools is of crucial importance for Afrikaners and brown Afrikaans speakers. It is extremely essential that other peoples also have access to education in their mother tongues at the highest level. We can indeed assist communities that decide they want to demand mother tongue education for their children, but it would be paternalistic if AfriForum demanded it on behalf of those peoples.
AfriForum and the other institutions of the Solidarity Movement that are concerned with education are already working together to fight against the Bela bill on many fronts. AfriForum’s legal team is ready to fight the Bela attempt at cultural ethnic cleansing up to the highest courts and even internationally. It is important that Afrikaans parents also protect single-medium Afrikaans public schools by, among other things, getting involved in their schools and participating in governing body elections and support actions.
We are grateful that quality education is currently being given by vocation-driven Afrikaans teachers in many single-medium Afrikaans schools. It is worth fighting passionately for its preservation, and that is exactly what we are going to do.
Build private Afrikaans educational institutions
It is important that existing Afrikaans public schools should not be weakened, but there should be a parallel process to develop and establish affordable private Afrikaans educational institutions of world quality.
I am grateful for the tremendous ground work that our colleagues in the Solidarity Movement at the School Support Center (SOS) are doing. Their plans are already well advanced and the first model school is already envisioned. We must be ready with alternatives if the circumstances require it.
Another source of hope is the success that our colleagues at Solidarity have achieved in making workable quality tertiary education in Afrikaans a practical reality through the establishment of private institutions such as Sol-Tech, Akademia and Bo-Karoo Opleiding. Our colleagues at Helpende Hand have also established an institution that already successfully trains home carers.
We are not going to allow the anti-African brigade to steal our children’s future. You can draw hope from this that with your help, practical support and participation we will ensure that a free, safe and prosperous future is built for us and our descendants here at the southern tip of Africa. #OnsSalSelf