Recognising sign language as the country's twelfth official language is an important step in empowering deaf people, and must be welcomed.
It is, however, also important to give effect to the official status of the language and not consider it inferior to English, as the other national languages often are.
Merely recognising a language in the Constitution is an empty gesture. In practice, South Africans feel that there is only one official language.
This feeling is experienced from junior school level where mother-tongue education is considered inferior to English instruction up to university level where Afrikaans is actively being undermined in the name of inclusivity.
After nearly thirty years of democracy, no progress has been made to make all the official languages more accessible on school level.
Over the last few years at the Stellenbosch University (SU), Afrikaans students were prohibited from speaking their own language in private conversations by, among others, fellow students.
The FF Plus requested the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to intervene in the matter, and the SU was ordered to implement certain remedies and to apologise publicly.
This is a shining example of the senselessness of recognising a language as official, while in reality, a constant battle must be waged over its use.
The FF Plus also intervened to ensure that interpreting services were implemented in South Africa's Parliament.
Members of Parliament are able to speak their mother-tongue while the message is interpreted so that other Members can receive it in their own language, including sign language.
The FF Plus would like to see this practice extended to the rest of society as well.
Every South African must be afforded the opportunity to speak the language that they know and love, both in schools and every other public platform.