Hands off Afrikaans please

From culture to multicultural intimidation. Pictures from a 'cultural evening' at Fochville High School. Now the education department wants to deny the school its language and culture.

On behalf of the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group (Praag) and all Afrikaans speakers in the country, I strongly object to your sensationalist headline: “My child hates Afrikaans people” (City Press, May 5).

The rest of the article displays a distinct bias against Hoërskool Fochville and Afrikaans in general by selectively quoting from affidavits filed by an NGO run by Mark Heywood, who is British.

For 200 years now, language has been a bone of contention in South Africa, specifically the fraught relationship between English and Afrikaans. Your reporter would therefore do well to be more circumspect and objective in reporting on such an explosive issue.

Apart from swaggeringly throwing down the race card, the ace to trump all else, you also neglected to mention that Barbara Creecy, the Gauteng education MEC, had created the problem by unexpectedly busing in a whole class of so-called “English” children at the beginning of last year.

Hostile officials from the department then ordered the school to teach them in that language, for which they were not qualified.

The use of children as pawns in Creecy’s neocolonial language war on Afrikaans is distasteful. Instead of concentrating her funds and her energies on providing education in Gauteng, Creecy has launched an all-out attack on Fochville and other Afrikaans high schools, threatening an educational legacy that goes back more than 100 years.

According to newspaper reports, Creecy and her high-handed officials have also threatened Afrikaans high schools in Joburg to change their language policy. I wonder whether the same is being done at Zulu or Tswana schools?

Is it any wonder that the community around Hoërskool Fochville is defending themselves against the autocratic Gauteng education department in the courts? But what a waste of taxpayers’ funds!

Creecy is directly responsible for the implosion of maths teaching in Gauteng – with the matric average now at 20%. What are we gaining, educationally, from these vindictive state actions against Afrikaans schools?

Can the ANC not replace Creecy with a black MEC for education in Gauteng who will not have a colonial axe to grind with Afrikaans?

Dr Dan Roodt,
Director, Praag, Joburg

This letter was also published today in City Press.