n Acta Academica - Accented futures. Language activism and the ending of apartheid, Carli Coetzee : review

Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


As part of an ongoing research project, I tried recently to critique a scholarly article on Afrikaans language activism published in 2013 by one of Afrikaans's leading activists, Wannie Carstens. I use the term language activism here as it is used in sociolinguistics - to refer to organised action aimed at language promotion, including the planning, institutionalisation and maintenance of a language, and the defence of language rights. Titled "The story of Afrikaans: Perspectives on the past, present and future", Carstens's article propagates reconciliation among Afrikaans speakers, arguing that it can be achieved inter alia by telling the "objective", complete and inclusive story of Afrikaans - the story of its "white and brown and black speakers". For too long, the author claims, the white history of Afrikaans has been represented as the history of the language to the detriment of its "brown and black" speakers and to the detriment of the language itself. For Carstens, non-racialism, inclusivity and unity are both goals in themselves and means to another (more important?) goal: the survival of Afrikaans. By the author's own admission, his article proceeds from the premise that "without reconciliation in the Afrikaans community, there can be no future for Afrikaans" (2013:22).

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error