News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
22 Jan 2018
7:17 am

Hands off Afrikaans, say defiant pupils at FH Odendaal

Virginia Keppler

Some black pupils say it is their choice to be taught in Afrikaans in a dual medium school and they ask that the language be respected and allowed to live on through those who want to speak it and be taught in it.

FH Odendaal pupils Ofentse Laka (Grade 10), left, Lindie Mahlangu (Grade 12) and Tshegofatso Mokau (Grade 10) all prefer to be taught in Afrikaans. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The pupils from several dual-medium schools and Afrikaans-only schools in Gauteng say they regard the language as theirs, in spite of their various mother tongues.

The only pupils who were comfortable to speak on the record and name their school were pupils at Hoërskool FH Odendaal, the alma mater of late Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen.

Other pupils, like Mpho Madiba, 16, a Grade 11 pupil, preferred not to name her school out of fear of recriminations from the education department.

“I want the language to live on and I would like to encourage people to speak the language. My mother tongue is Sotho and I also speak English, but Afrikaans is my second language,” said Madiba.

Lindie Mahlangu, 19, a Grade 11 pupil at FH Odendaal, said it was her choice to be taught in Afrikaans. “I do very well in Afrikaans and I am aiming for four As – one in Afrikaans – in my final examinations this year,” she said.

“I love Afrikaans but I also love my mother tongue, which is Zulu. Most of the time we speak English at home,” said Mahlangu.

She felt there was still a need for Afrikaans classes because there were many black children who still preferred to be taught in Afrikaans because it was easier to study in the language.

Tsegofatso Makau, 15, and Ofentse Laka, 15, both Grade 10 pupils, said they preferred to be taught in Afrikaans. Makau, whose mother tongue is Tswana, said when she started primary school, there was an English school she could attend, but her mother chose the Afrikaans school.

Even when she went to high school, she preferred Afrikaans. “When I started school I could not speak a word of Afrikaans, but I worked hard and I have been nominated in primary school for best performer in Afrikaans as a second language,” said Laka.

“I am very proud of Afrikaans and I see it as my language. “I have received several awards for the subject and I always score above 80%. “Besides, Afrikaans is a lekker taal and easier than English when it comes to school work.”

Below, FH Odendaal pupils Ofentse Laka (Grade 10), left, Lindie Mahlangu (Grade 12) and Tshegofatso Mokau (Grade 10) all prefer to be taught in Afrikaans. 

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