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FF Plus sows seeds for the protection of language rights at the Afrikaans Taalmuseum and monument

A genuine gesture that will, hopefully, sow some seeds for the conservation and promotion of all language communities in South Africa.

That is what the FF Plus aimed to achieve today with its invitation to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) to visit the Afrikaans Taalmuseum and -monument.

The CRL Commission is a Chapter Nine Institution of the South African Constitution.

The visit transpired after the FF Plus extended an invitation to the Commission last month during a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to find out first-hand what the Monument symbolises.

The aim was to allow the Commission to assess the Afrikaans language, its indigenous development and history, and its significant role in South African society with greater understanding.

The FF Plus’s desire is that the Commission’s starting point should always be to find out first-hand just how deeply rooted a language is in its speakers’ hearts, culture and history.

This links directly with the Commission’s mandate to promote respect and the protection of the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities.

The ideal is to foster “peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity” in an among cultural, religious and linguistic communities.

It must be done on a basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association. The Commission is also responsible for promoting an understanding of historical heritage.

The CRL Commission clearly has an extremely important role to fulfil in our South African society when it comes to language and culture. The unfortunate truth is that the Commission is, however, not quite filling those shoes just yet.

This is illustrated by the fact that at the Stellenbosch University (SU), Afrikaans-speaking students were prohibited from speaking their mother tongue, even in private conversations.

The South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) intervened and instructed the SU to, among other things, take remedial action after formal complaints were lodged.

This took place even though certain bodies, like the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) and the CRL Commission, are established in terms of the Constitution with the specific objective of guarding against discrimination on the basis on language and culture.

The FF Plus truly hopes that today’s gesture will allow the CRL Commission to recognise, with new zeal, the genuine desire of all the language communities in the country to cherish their own language and culture.

Dr Pieter Mulder, former leader of the FF Plus, was the guest speaker and provided the members of the Commission with a comprehensive background of the symbolism of the Taalmonument and the Afrikaans language’s close ties with other indigenous languages.

Ms HeloΓ―se Denner, FF Plus MP and chief spokesperson for Sport, Arts and Culture, also attended the event.

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