The DAK Network held demonstrations at the Stellenbosch University (SU) on Friday to hand over a memorandum demanding the protection of the Afrikaans language.
It follows allegations that the university intends to scrap the language in favour of English.
Chairperson of the DAK Network, Danie van Wyk said: “It is with great anger that the DAK Network took note of the setting aside of the 2016 Language Policy of Stellenbosch University.
“Not only did it provoke anger among our people, but it also brought visions of the past of disempowerment and humiliation. We urge that Stellenbosch University must reconsider its decision.”
Van Wyk said the mere fact that Afrikaans is not recognized as an indigenous language by Stellenbosch University is a “mistake” in the history of the language.
In the memorandum, the lobby group demands that the university make an effort to become a bastion for multilingualism and that an interest group be established to hold discussions around the language policy.
“DAK Netwerk believes that Stellenbosch University will take these statements to heart. If not, we will bother [sic] Stellenbosch University with other actions until our people are right [sic],” Van Wyk said.
The demonstration comes after SU announced revising its language policy (2016) this year as part of the five-year revision cycle prescribed in the policy itself. Stakeholders have been invited to submit comments on the first draft of the revised policy up until Monday.
A second public participation process is planned for later this year.
SU’s senior director of social impact and transformation, Dr Leslie van Rooi welcomed input and comments on the draft Language Policy.
He added that he looks forward to working with interest groups to ensure Afrikaans’ future as a language in the country and as part of a multicultural and multilingual university.
Commenting on the memorandum, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, said there was keen interest in the revision of the University’s Language Policy.
“The University welcomes a diversity of opinions and viewpoints and robust debate.
“It is clear that various interest groups are interested in especially the position of Afrikaans as demonstrated by today’s DAK Netwerk march.”
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