Afrikaans Is a Shared Language That Can Help Us Reach across the Divides

Cape Times (South Africa), August 29, 2008 | Go to article overview

Afrikaans Is a Shared Language That Can Help Us Reach across the Divides


BYLINE: Christo Owen van der Rheede

Mobilisation along ethnic lines in the Afrikaans community: is it the easy option or the right choice? I am asking this question because it is necessary to critically evaluate such initiatives, especially in view of what is happening now.

Social scientists postulate that any context characterised by social, economic and political instability provides fertile ground for spontaneous mobilisation of people or communities around common interests. Rationality vanishes like mist before the sun when people feel threatened and perceptions of marginalisation, disregard and inferiority are growing. In the meantime, the "we" versus "them" tension starts building, showing the first cracks in the underlying social unity. Moral accountability relating to the country's interest gives way to moral justification of group interests, without taking the long-term implications into consideration. The re-imagining and re-living of our national identity is threatened by the easy option of focusing on group identity.

A few critical questions need to be asked before one can judge whether the formation of ethnic movements is the easy option or the right choice. Such as whether proper consideration is given to the moral, structural or political implications of such an initiative, or is it merely driven by a false sense of ethnic alliance? And if the answer is yes, why did it not occur to anyone that this sense of ethnic alliance is an archetype of the colonial and apartheid era, a figment of yesteryear? Or is it so entrenched in the collective subconsciousness of all to whom this geknelde land is home that we easily jump on the bandwagon when, for whatever reason, a few individuals feel the need to revive the ethnic notions of the past?

When I was a child, I made the amazing discovery that brown, white and black figments exist in the imagination only - something which my father convinced us of from our early childhood days. As such, giving content to a brown figment is not in line with the moral obligation that the Constitution places on all of us: to strive towards non-racialism in a diverse context. Such a context requires of us to tread carefully - maintaining balance and ingenuity - to defuse the existing tension between striving towards non-racialism and the demands posed by diversity.

However, diversity, as the Constitution alludes, does not imply the regeneration of brown, white or black figments. On the contrary, it refers to our different languages, cultural and religious practices, sexual preferences, gender differences, historical advantage or disadvantage, disability and traditional systems. This diverse reality forms the basis of community development and serves as an important starting point for ongoing educational, economic, social, cultural and spiritual empowerment.

Successful empowerment has a context-specific approach, hence projects and programmes are mother-tongue based and have a particular cultural, traditional and religious character. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afrikaans Is a Shared Language That Can Help Us Reach across the Divides
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.