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'Decolonising classrooms doesn't mean scrapping Afrikaans' - Lia Snijman

Stellenbosch University journalism student Lia Snijman said that multilingualism - which includes Afrikaans - is "essential if we want all South Africans to have the opportunity to flourish".

'Afrikaans Must Fall' scrawled across a wall at the University of Pretoria amid protests over its language policy. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Conversations around the decolonisation of education in South Africa are often held alongside calls for the "weeding out" of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools.

Just last month, AfriForum accused Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi of having a negative attitude towards the Afrikaans language in respect of his ongoing fight for nonracialism in schools in the province.

But Stellenbosch University journalism student Lia Snijman said that multilingualism - which includes Afrikaans - is "essential if we want all South Africans to have the opportunity to flourish".

Snijman completed her undergraduate degree in Afrikaans and Dutch, English and French at Stellenbosch.

"I definitely think it would be better for everybody if they are able to do a part of their education in their own home language."

Snijman said she understands why Lesufi disapproves of Afrikaans-only schools but argues that the resources used to preserve Afrikaans can similarly be used for African languages.

"We should look at the way Afrikaans has been able to develop, obviously not going to follow the whole excluding other languages to build up a language, but looking at what kind of resources we should invest in."

Listen to the audio below for more.