University of Pretoria tuks afrikaans anc

(Photo: Flickr / Allstevens)

ANC hail “step in the right direction” as Afrikaans dropped from Tuks

It’s causing quite the stir across South Africa, but the ANC have given their full backing to the University of Pretoria for removing Afrikaans from teaching.

University of Pretoria tuks afrikaans anc

(Photo: Flickr / Allstevens)

The ANC have released their official reaction to the University of Pretoria’s (Tuks’) decision to remove Afrikaans as a language of instruction at the institution, and they are all for the controversial move.

ANC reaction to Afrikaans at Tuks

In a document circulated on Friday, the party called it “a step in the right direction” and a victory for transformation in South Africa. Although they praised the cultural significance of the language, they remained staunchly against the idea that it belongs in university classrooms:

“The ANC believes the university has taken a step in the right direction and must continue its efforts towards the transformation for all students and members of the university. Our shared values cannot be achieved if language as used as a barrier to accessing education.”

“Afrikaans, alongside all other official languages, shall remain a treasured heritage that must be promoted and protected in all aspects of life and should find expression across the cultural and racial divide. This change comes on the back of the history where Afrikaans has enjoyed dominance at the university since 1932.”

ANC statement

Why Afrikaans has been dropped at the University of Pretoria

AfriForum were the first to express their disapproval, labelling the decision as “worrisome”. They believe that removing Afrikaans from teaching will lead to a less socially cohesive environment on campus. Alana Bailey is the Deputy CEO of AfriForum responsible for language affairs, and she believes the dignity of native speakers “is being impaired”.

The civil rights group suggest that Tuks should instead list the amount of English speakers registered with the university, rather than singling out those who use Afrikaans as their mother tongue. According to the university, between 1992 and 2015, Tuks saw a drastic drop of 50% on students who registered Afrikaans as a home language.

What happens now?

This change will not be sudden: Students who have been at the university before 2019 will still receive schooling in Afrikaans, based on a preferential basis. The decision, however, does mean that the University of Stellenbosch will now be the only tertiary education facility in Mzansi to use the language as a primary means of instruction.