| DeurAfriForum

AfriForum Youth demands answers about the ban on Afrikaans at SU

Following allegations about a ban on Afrikaans, AfriForum Youth today sent a letter to the vice-chancellor, professor Wim de Villiers, from Stellenbosch University (SU), in which the youth organisation demands answers. There are serious allegations that representatives of the university, on several occasions, ordered Afrikaans-speaking students not to speak Afrikaans under any circumstances. This includes informal social and one-on-one interactions between Afrikaans first language speakers.

The youth organisation wants to know how SU plan to solve these human rights violations and prevent them in the future. Furthermore, they want to know why these incidents seem to be a repeat of similar incidents which took place in 2021.

“The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has already been tasked in 2021 to investigate an alleged “ban” on Afrikaans on campus. Did the university ever follow up with the SAHRC about when this investigation’s findings will be made public?” asks René van der Vyver, spokesperson for AfriForum Youth.

Afrikaans-speaking students are terrified to speak their mother language on campus. Even a social event was cancelled because some students spoke Afrikaans to each other. On another occasion, a student was threatened with humiliation and intimidated by a student leader for speaking Afrikaans. These are only two incidents, between 3 and 7 February, where Afrikaans was banned.

“These allegations at Maties, as well as the recent incident at the North-West University’s (NWU) Potchefstroom campus, highlights the toxic environment created at South Africa’s university campuses. Minority language groups are being bullied and students are excluded based on their race. It is disturbing that among Afrikaans-speaking students a fear of speaking their mother language is perpetuated,” concludes Van der Vyver.