ZAM reporter

One Country, Many Languages, Part II

Debate Afrikaans and Diversity at A.K.A. 2016

What is the essence of a language? In South Africa, Afrikaans used to be the 'tongue of the oppressor.' Today, it is just one of eleven official languages, an equal among equals. But whose Afrikaans are we talking about? Afrikaans isn't -and has never been- exclusively white: it is the home language of five million 'coloureds,' people of mixed heritage, and quite a few blacks too. Under apartheid, this reality was suppressed: schools taught only 'white' Afrikaans literature and poetry. White Afrikaans representation also dominated the most privileged universities. The language used and taught there was given preference over almost all others.

The question how Afrikaans must -or can- adapt to the realities of a multilingual society, and what other countries can learn from this process, will be the topic of a key note speech by professor Anne-Marie Beukes, chairperson of the Afrikaanse Taalraad, at the A.K.A. Festival voor het Afrikaans, Stemmen van AfrikaMaandblad Zuid-Afrika and the Drongo Festival. The key note will be followed by a conversation with South African artists and 'language activists' Jack Parow and HemelBesem, and also Dutch linguistic expert professor Pieter Muysken, winner of the prestigious Spinoza Award in the Netherlands.

Space: Compagnietheater, Amsterdam | Date: Sunday 10 April 2016 | Time: 1 – 2 PM.