n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die rol van die Afrikaanse Wikipedia in die uitbou van Afrikaans

Volume 56 Number 2-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



In 2015, Afrikaans celebrated its 90th birthday as an official language of South Africa. In the course of these 90 years, Afrikaans progressed in the physical space from a so-called kitchen and domestic language to a mature, fully developed language, suitable and extensively used in all walks of life, including the church, school, university, science, sports, culture, law and economics.From being considered as "language of the oppressor", Afrikaans grew into a model for the other South African languages; into a language of hope (Langner 2015). Influential writers refer to the electricity, the wonder, the triumph, but also the tragedy of Afrikaans (Steyn 2014; McLachlan 2010) due to the recently increasing pressure towards terminating the use of Afrikaans in secondary and higher education, and the work place. By 2015 it was clear that the efforts towards advancing Afrikaans were by no means a matter of the past. Now, in its 91st year, Afrikaans is confronted with the #AfrikaansMustFall movement, which has manifested itself in both the physical and digital space (often also referred to as cyberspace). Here we consider digital space as the non-physical space within which we communicate by means of telecommunication and computer networks, more specifically the Internet, and the World Wide Web. In terms of the role that digital space and specifically the social media are playing in this movement, it resembles what has become known as the "Arab spring", a movement that has radically changed the world. Similarly, the position of Afrikaans has been changed irrevocably by #AfrikaansMustFall. This raises the question of how to address this issue, also in the context of language planning.

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