Council to debate retention of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University

Over 30,000 alumni & other stakeholders participated in the referendum on the retention of Afrikaans.

FILE: The council is widely expected to debate the issue during today’s meeting. Picture: iWitness.

CAPE TOWN - A delegation from trade union Solidarity has promised to present the results of a referendum on the retention of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University to the institution's council.

The council is facing a critical decision, whether or not to support a proposal by Rector Wim de Villiers to make English the primary language of communication at the university.

The council is widely expected to debate the issue during today's meeting.

Solidarity says more than 30,000 alumni and other stakeholders, in collaboration with the union, participated in the referendum on the retention of Afrikaans.

Student activists associated with Open Stellenbosch have been protesting against the university's language policy, arguing it excludes black students.

But Solidarity's Chief Executive Dirk Hermann says the wide support for Afrikaans confirms that unilateral decisions by university councils will not be accepted lying down.

He says the Afrikaans community is standing together for the preservation and development of the language at tertiary level.