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DA lodges complaint against Blade Nzimande at UN

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has filed a complaint with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) against the South African government and Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education. With its initiative, the DA hopes to persuade the United Nations (UN) to recognize Afrikaans, as well as the Khoi, San, and Nama languages, as full-fledged indigenous South African languages in the new Language Policy Framework for Higher Education Institutions.See the source image

The South African government has three months to reply to the DA's complaint that Minister Nzimande's designation of these languages as "foreign" breaches Articles 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to UNESCO's complaint procedure. These articles state that everyone has the right to education, that higher education should be available to all on a merit basis, that education should be used to "promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship between all nations, races, or ethnic groups," and that everyone has the right to freely participate in their community's cultural life.See the source image

The DA thinks that labeling Afrikaans, Khoi, San, and Nama languages as "foreign" is a violation of all of these ideals. Minister Nzimande's Language Policy Framework has as a specific goal the development and strengthening of "indigenous languages as languages of academia, teaching, learning, and communication in South African universities." Because certain languages are not included in the concept of "indigenous languages," they are not included in the policy's attempts to promote and enhance South African languages.See the source image

President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously stated that Afrikaans-speakers are "scared and concerned" about the ramifications of the categorization error. The rationale for this is because classifying Afrikaans, as well as Khoi, San, and Nama languages, as "foreign" gives the sense that its speakers are somehow "alien" or "foreign" to South Africa, and hence do not truly belong here. This othering, which tries to label some residents as "foreign," runs counter to Article 26's requirement that education be utilized to foster "understanding, tolerance, and camaraderie."

Finally, the Language Policy Framework states that the government would allocate fewer resources to languages that it considers "foreign." This would deny Afrikaans, Khoi, San, and Nama speakers of the resources they need to preserve their communities' cultural life, which is a blatant violation of Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.See the source image

Following the government's unwillingness to remedy the misclassification, the DA was obliged to file this case. Minister Nzimande has received three formal requests from the DA to correct the term. We've also filed a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), as well as a public petition and a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa. The administration has decided to disregard our requests, leaving us with no choice except to seek assistance from the international community.

Our proposal to the United Nations also highlights the importance of the situation. The new Language Policy Framework will take effect in January 2022, and we are hoping that the international community will assist us in pressuring the government to recognize Afrikaans, as well as Khoi, San, and Nama languages, as full-fledged indigenous languages entitled to support and recognition, before then.

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DA lodges complaint against Blade Nzimande at UN

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Blade Nzimande DA Khoi South African UNESCO

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