Actress Ayanda Borotho questions dominance of Afrikaans in schools in post-apartheid SA

Those not speaking the language at home or among friends are bound to be at a disadvantage, is the point.

Isibaya actress and Unbecoming author Ayanda Borotho took to Instagram to voice her frustration at the South African education system, particularly regarding languages.

Her frustration stemmed from the fact that one of her younger children received a low aggregate because he failed Afrikaans. In a lot of South African schools, English is taken as a home language and Afrikaans as a first additional language.

“My biggest issue is that in 2020 in a country like South Africa that has a very dark history of apartheid, how is it that Afrikaans as the oppressor’s language is still the second most dominant second language in schools,” Ayanda asks.

“It is systematic exclusion” is the statement Ayanda uses to conclude her Instagram caption. In a population of 57 million people, with the majority not using Afrikaans, those not speaking the language at home or among friends are bound to be at a disadvantage, is the point.

But the power the subject has to the academic performance is what concerns Ayanda more. Whether or not students ace other subjects, but fail Afrikaans, they are bound to get low marks. This is also the case vice versa.

Also Read: Quick question: Why are non-Afrikaans speaking students still required to learn it?

Ayanda shared that her son failed the term because he failed Afrikaans, even after acing other subjects. Her son is in Grade 1 and is very well versed in speaking SeSotho and isiZulu fluently and she believes that he would perform much better when tested using these languages. She delayed their schooling by two years because she “did not want to erode the use of their home languages”.

“You can’t fail children on the basis of not speaking YOUR language,” Ayanda says as she calls for the department of education to find other language alternatives. Some schools offer this, but Ayanda argued that one school she found that offered her home language is an hour’s drive from her home. School is also a matter of convenience. It makes no sense for her why as a native South African she has to struggle to find a school to teach her child a native language.

Ayanda is taking it upon herself to research what the alternatives are for schools and parents that have children who are struggling or would like to opt for something else. She is even looking at collaborating with organisations such as the Pan South African Language Board that can formulate a language policy for the school.

During the foundations of her children’s learning, she is passionate about their education not being hindered by a language that is not theirs in the first place.

Watch e her full video here:

Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day. 


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