oa Alternation - Language and the postcolonial condition

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



The outcome of the South African language debates saw the country adopting a multilingual language policy that gives official recognition to eleven languages, including English and Afrikaans and nine indigenous languages. While it is politically justifiable for the language policy to reverse the injustices incurred by speakers of indigenous languages through colonization, and later apartheid, I intend to caution against an unrealistic assumption that the introduction of indigenous languages as medium of instruction at all levels of education in South Africa will be a reality, and that, if it were to happen, that would result in economic development and improvement of living conditions for all. Given the strikingly powerful status of English in most of South Africa's educational institutions and in the world of business and commerce, and the accompanying limited and/or non implementation of the new language policy-in-education, the success of the policy is unlikely. Jansen (2002:271f)

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