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LANGUAGE, EDUCATION AND THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

Issues of language and education are central to the process of nation building in the new South Africa. In this paper, I examine the rhetoric and the practice of the intersections of South Africa's language and education policies. While early education policy documents are predicated on the need to reassert the importance of African languages in relation to English and Afrikaans, the official languages during apartheid, these discourses of language equality are now being replaced with discourses of utility. I examine this change at the level of national policy, and also in practice in the province of Mpumalanga, where English is increasingly coming to dominate the spaces of education, and Afrikaans and African languages are becoming more marginalised. I argue that this policy shift and related practices fundamentally undermine broader claims to racial and ethnic equality in the new South Africa.

Keywords: Language; South Africa; education

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0040-747X.2004.00326.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland., Email: mary.gilmartin@ucd.ie

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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