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Democratic South Africa also inherited a racially differentiated education system, with 19 different departments of education, each maintaining different standards and administrating its own examinations. Central to the crisis in the country are the massive divisions and inequalities left behind by apartheid and nation-building is the basis on which to build a South Africa that can support the development of the Southern African region.

Nation-building is also the basis on which to ensure that the country takes up an effective role within the world community.

It involves multiculturalism, which recognises the cultural rights of ethnic and other minorities. In building a new nation, the country chose to follow a process of reconciliation through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC. The TRC recorded and made public the details of a very painful past. The process of publicly acknowledging and confronting these details was a very necessary part of the process of healing the historic wounds. The TRC helped ease South Africa into the reconstruction and nation-building process and facilitated a smooth transition from apartheid rule to democracy.

The first democratic elections, which were held peacefully and successfully in , also made an important contribution to social cohesion and building a new national identity.

The late former President Nelson Mandela, represented a leader acceptable to almost all groups in society and he was deeply respected across racial and class boundaries. In this regard, President Mandela was himself a key part of the new national identity. By , the foundations on which to build a new nation were in place and apartheid laws had been repealed. South Africa had a firmly established national territory, a new Constitution and new national symbols, including a flag, a national anthem and a coat of arms, all of which played a key role in the creation of an overarching national identity.

In a country that values its diversity, these symbols play a stronger role in forging an overarching national identity than in a country with a single cultural, religious or ethnic identity. The Constitution is based on a vision of a South Africa built on a culture of reverence for human rights and an identity founded on the values of non-sexism, non-racialism and equality.

1. Introduction

It aimed to build an overarching national identity through common citizenship and equality before the law. Students who have learned to read in their mother tongue learn to read in a second language more quickly than do those who are first taught to read in the second language.

In most African countries this insight is, however, not being acted upon. The recent spread of private primary schools using English medium as the language of instruction in Tanzania is a case in point Rubagumya, Parents who want their children in these schools argue that we live in the time of globalisation and that English is the language of the global village. We shall return to this point. In this article two irreconcilable trends will be discussed--the one moving in the direction of globalisation, a capitalist market economy and the strengthening of the former colonial languages and the other being genuinely concerned with good governance, democracy, poverty alleviation and social justice, the ingredients of what we would call positive peace or the absence of structural violence Brock-Utne,; Brock-Utne,b.

As I see it this last trend, should it be taken seriously, would have as its result the strengthening of the African languages. The same view-point has been advanced by Kamanga who warned against the deleterious effects globalisation could have on the linguistic rights of the masses of Africans.

Table of Contents

What do we mean by globalisation? Globalisation may be more than one thing. Some people feel that the term simply denotes a multiplicity of international relations, the personal meetings with foreign peoples and their food, clothes, languages, music and dances, or the experiences of satellite broadcasting and world-wide contacts via the Internet. A lot of this is of course to the good. My focus is, however, on that massive economic globalisation, with wide-ranging social and cultural repercussions, which has taken place during the last two or three decades, and which still radically transforms our societies--on the terms of capitalist corporations.

I am concerned with capital-led globalisation. Economic domination and penetration have taken place during ages, varying in forms from mutually beneficial trade to violent robberies. The process took an especially sinister form during the times of European colonisation and transatlantic slave trade.

The industrial revolution in Europe was followed by a dramatic increase in international trade; it is still accelerating and is still marked by the extraction of raw materials from the former colonies in return for finished products from the transnational corporations of the North. It is true that an increasing amount of this production today takes place in the South, but by under-paid workers under the dominating ownership and direction of the Northern corporations.

During the last few decades the economic penetration and domination by transnational corporations TNCs have accelerated at such a pace and to such a degree that we are confronted with a global phenomenon which needs a specific name. This is what more and more social scientists the world over have in mind when they use that word. Today's globalisation is due to two particular changes, one technological and the other one political. First, electronic communications and data computers have made it possible for top executives to oversee and direct enormous transnational corporations and to move limitless amounts of financial capital the world over instantaneously.

Second, through political decisions our governments have dismantled national controls with regard to capital movements, profits and foreign investments. By this willed or enforced political choice--the consequences of which have seldom been spelled out to the electorates--our political leaders have removed those legal and administrative tools, which might have protected local economic and social systems.

Our national economies have been turned into an unregulated global market where private speculators and corporations have free play. A number of international agreements and organisations have paved the way for this globalisation process. Arrangements like the Common European Market and the North American Free Trade Area have opened free movement of capital, goods, services and investments within specific regions.

Directed by Western interests the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund used their creditor powers to pressure first the poor debtor countries of the South and then the collapsing members of the former Soviet Union to turn their own battered economies into the same kind of unrestricted markets. Last but not least, the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade GATT , which has now been rearmed as the World Trade Organisation WTO , has become a vehicle for assuring that practically the whole world is opened up for the unhindered operations of private capital.

This explains why half the world's one hundred largest economies are today not countries, but transnational corporations. The weakening of the state is a characteristic feature of the globalisation process.

The building of a nation | SAnews

For the education sector this means a cut in government expenditures to education, the introduction of so-called cost sharing measures, the erection of private schools and the liberalisation of the text-book market. I have in several publications analysed the effects of this policy on the education sector in Africa see especially Brock-Utne,a and Brock-Utne,d. The policy leads to greater disparities between social groups and regions and between the elites and the masses as well as the building down of curriculum centres and the import of textbooks from countries overseas.

There is reason to call this policy a recolonisation of the African mind Brock-Utne, a. The Danish educational researcher Kirsten Reisby showed what a locally situated, participating schooling practice with global perspectives might contribute. Robert Phillipson shows how globalisation is carried out through a small number of dominating languages. Being himself an Englishman, Phillipson does not shrink away from denoting his own mother tongue as being at the heart of the contemporary globalisation processes.

Robert Phillipson shows how the forces behind globalisation promote the diffusion of English, often to the detriment of the mother tongues of most people. He draws attention to the role of the World Bank in rhetorically supporting local languages, but channelling its resources to the strengthening of European languages in Africa; transnational corporations seem to be well served by the bank's policies.


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He rightly points out that the colonial exercise was not merely about conquering territory and economies, but also about conquering minds. During the transition from the colonial to the postcolonial era the British government saw the advantage of promoting English to a world language. Likewise the globalisation exercise of today is also about conquering minds. These soft-sell terms obscure the reality of North-South links and globalisation, which is that the majority of the world's population is being impoverished, that natural resources are being plundered in unsustainable ways, and that speakers of most languages do not have their linguistic human rights respected.

English for business is business for English Phillipson, A recent development is the globalisation of distance education, which is big business for American, Australian and British universities.

School-level exams in the full range of subjects are also business that consolidates the dominance of English. It organised exams in in countries Phillipson, This Skutnabb-Kangas finds to be the case especially in situations where linguistic and ethnic borders or boundaries coincide with economic boundaries or other boundaries and where linguistically and ethnically defined groups differ in terms of relative political power. If legitimate demands for some kind of self-determination are not met, be it demands about cultural autonomy or about more regional economic or political autonomy, this may often lead to demands for secession.

Account Options

Thus granting education- and language-based rights to minorities can, and should often be, part of conflict prevention. When the OSCE Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in created the position of a High Commissioner on National Minorities, it was precisely as an instrument of conflict prevention in situations of ethnic tension Skutnabb-Kangas, The High Commissioner explained to the expert group preparing the Guidelines, that the minorities he was negotiating with had, in most cases, two main types of demands:. African languages seldom find any legally meaningful protection under national laws Kamanga, Language is not any more mentioned in the Constitution of Tanzania interview with Rugatiri D.

According to the Constitution of Kiswahili and English should be the national languages. The South African constitution has a better protection for the African languages than the Tanzanian one. Recognising the historically diminished use and status of the indigenous languages of our people, the state must take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages. To this end, there is provision in subsection 5 for the creation of a Pan South African Language Board to.

In spite of the progressive language policy of South Africa, languages other than Afrikaans and English i. Stanley Ridge describes the situation as requiring a move from rhetoric to practice in key strategic areas in the interests of democracy and justice:. This has been dramatically evident in the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where the voices which could not previously be heard in the apartheid era have spoken to South Africa overwhelmingly in languages other than English and Afrikaans. The actual achievement of justice is very often determined by the language conducted by the actors in the judicial theatre.

There is still a near monopoly of English and Afrikaans in the law and legal system of South Africa leading to the alienation of the legal system by the bulk of South African society. In South Africa two languages, English and Afrikaans, have dominated the legal field since the early colonial and apartheid days. This in contrast to Tanzania where Kiswahili is being used as the judicial language in the primary courts.

The Bills come to Parliament in English, however, but they are discussed in Kiswahili whereupon the law is then written in English. In lower courts both English and Kiswahili are being used but the sentence is written in English. In Kiswahili was used in the courts for 78 per cent of the time; in the High Court only English is being used Temu, In South Africa, however, whilst the use of indigenous African languages was allowed in the black homelands, Africans who found themselves with legal matters to settle within the so-called white South Africa had to endure the conduct of their proceedings in either English or Afrikaans.

If they were not conversant in either language, translation services were provided for them. In spite of the formal recognition of the eleven official languages in the Constitution, there is to date little evidence of actual court processes or proceedings taking place in all these official languages. Interpretations do not always work well, however.

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South Africa - From Apartheid to democracy

Through a concrete example Ailola and Montsi show that even when translation facilities are available fatal mistakes can occur because there are certain expressions which are, at best, incapable of an exact interpretation. Others simply cannot be translated. Thus, according to a story which was told them by a Zambian legal practitioner, a client of his nearly incriminated himself in a crime of murder on account of an improper translation of the term. In that case the accused had been asked in the Tonga vernacular whether he admitted to killing the deceased.

He replied in the affirmative. Thereupon the translator turned to the bench and reported a confession of murder.