Will the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) become only a Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (TKV), that is, will the association do away with its exclusive focus on Afrikaans? This is the question that arises in reaction to announcements made by ms. Deidre le Hanie, the new managing director of the organisation.
Le Hanie announced that the ATKV (the Afrikaans Language and Culture Association in English) wants to extend its reach beyond the Afrikaans community by also including other languages. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to other language groups in South Africa, but doing so can seriously alter the main affairs of the ATKV. The ATKV has been a cultural home for Afrikaans for over 87 years.
In the past, the government safeguarded and promoted the Afrikaans culture and language. Therefore, there was no need for Afrikaans civil organisations to spend money and time on fulfilling such functions. Since 1994, however, this has no longer been the case.
Members of the Afrikaans community voluntarily offers financial and other support to organisations such as the ATKV, FAK (Federation for Afrikaans Culture Associations), Solidarity, FF Plus, AfriForum etc. so that these organisations can fill the vacuum left by the government. Since 1994, the ATKV has played a major role in this regard and it has also done very well in involving all Afrikaans-speaking people in its activities.
At present, the government is exerting continued pressure on Afrikaans. The Afrikaans cultural and civil organisations have also had calculated budget cuts from the government and it seems like there is a campaign against everything related to Afrikaans.
When considering the budget and the various projects of the Department of Arts and Culture, it becomes evident that much attention is paid to other groups, but that the Afrikaans language group is being neglected. The Afrikaans language group will therefore truly regret losing the ATKV, or any other similar organisation, at this time.
History teaches us that when an organisation tries to be everything for everyone, what happens is that it more often than not ends up being nothing for nobody. Having been a member of the ATKV for decades myself, I will join thousands of other Afrikaans-speaking ATKV members in reserving judgment on the “new” ATKV as well as the new managing director. We will, however, keep a very close eye on the practical implementation of the new approach and the proposed projects.
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