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LEARNING AN AFRICAN LANGUAGE 'GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY'

An education analyst believes a government proposal that university students should learn an African language as a condition for graduation, would be good for the country.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said yesterday an advisory panel is been tasked with looking into the issue.

Analyst Kobus Maree says, in principle, he welcomes the suggestion as people need to start speaking each other’s languages.

“Irrespective of whether a person is white, black, whatever the case may be, it is a basic thing to try and address the person in his or her mother tongue. It sends out a clear signal that ‘I respect you as a human being, I respect your language, I respect your culture.'”

Speaking in isiZulu yesterday, Nzimande said ‘We can’t be expected to learn English and Afrikaans, yet they don’t learn our languages’.

Maree says he is concerned by the Minister’s wording.

“That type of language ‘us and them’ really is in my opinion is deplorable. We have one one country. Find scientific reasons, breaking down barriers, promoting understanding, learning the various languages, at least learning one African language, makes perfect sense. I don’t think any reasonable person in the country that would debate this, or contest this. But I think that so many years after the demise of apartheid, the ‘we and us, and them’ I think that is really something that we do not need in South Africa at this point in time.”

Do you agree learning to speak an African language should be a condition for graduating or do you feel it should be up to South Africans to decide whether to learn other languages as a way towards nation-building?

Article by East Coast Radio



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