Stellenbosch University: 30 000+ in bid to retain Afrikaans as default language

From Solidarity

More than 30 000 alumni and other stakeholders, in collaboration with trade union Solidarity, participated in a recent referendum on the retention of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University (SU). Solidarity will present the results of the referendum to the university council at its meeting to be held today, Monday 30 November 2015.

The referendum was initiated after the rector, Prof Wim de Villiers, had announced earlier this month that English would become the default language at Stellenbosch University. Prof De Villiers claims that it emerged from discussions with student organisations, including Open Stellenbosch, that Matie students support English as the university’s official language of instruction.

An aerial view of Stellenbosch University's Tygerberg medical campus.
An aerial view of Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg medical campus.

According to Solidarity Chief Executive Dirk Hermann, the wide support received from many quarters for Afrikaans at Stellenbosch confirms that unilateral decisions by university councils would not be accepted lying down. “It is gratifying to see how the Afrikaans language community stood up in solidarity for the preservation and development of Afrikaans at tertiary level in such a unanimous way,” Hermann said.

A Solidarity delegate will present the results of the referendum to the University Council before today’s meeting.

Meanwhile, a meeting aimed at establishing an Afrikaans Alumni Society took place in Stellenbosch this past weekend. This meeting followed after about 2 000 alumni of various universities recently voiced their support for such a society.

A core group met on Saturday morning to discuss the society’s charter. The members of the founding committee are Piet le Roux, Hermann Giliomee, Francois Venter, Annette Combrink, Jacques van der Elst, Deon Geldenhuys, Paul Colditz, Dirk Hermann and Jacques du Preez.