Posts Tagged ‘school’

Afrikaans: Alles Is Mos Reg

August 27th, 2009 12 comments

evitaAfrikaans. Jong, you either love it or you blerry hate it.

The mere mention of the word conjures up images of my school classmates wincing in dismay as our Afrikaans teacher announced that the following week’s homework was to prepare a “mondeling” on some relevant topic. Kids would go to truly staggering lengths to get out of those classes. Even more remarkable was the number of suburban dogs that were partial to the taste of Afrikaans homework…
Personally, my allegiance falls on the love side of things. But then, I did get a lucky break when it comes to being “tweetalig”.

In the December of 1981, my family emigrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa. I was seven years old and had never heard a single word of Afrikaans. As fate would have it, we moved directly to Sasolburg in the Orange Free State. Afrikaans heaven, ne?.

Read more…

Categories: Afrikaans Tags: , ,

Something To Swear By

August 18th, 2009 19 comments

teacherThe lead singer of a very famous German heavy metal band called Rammstein once said, “French may be the language of love, but German is the language of anger.” I know what he means. Some languages slide easier off the tongue when spoken under extreme strain.

Let me start off by setting the record straight. My exposure to Afrikaans was very short, yet extremely odd. The government, in all its wisdom, decided that teaching Afrikaans to black children was counter-productive or against the spirit of the National Democratic Revolution or something. They gave some oily reason, and just like that, I stopped learning die taal in Grade 7. But I remember very well the few years of exposure that I had.

Read more…

Categories: Afrikaans Tags: , ,

Dear Afrikaans

August 17th, 2009 14 comments

loveletterIt was not love at first sight. It was hate. The first time I met you was when I was five years old, at a bilingual nursery school. In between belting out the lyrics of Stevie Wonder’s “I just called to say I love you” on the tyre swing, I had a war to fight. There was our jungle gym, and there was yours. Ours was the “rooinekke” one and yours was the “afrikaaners vrot bananas” one. Our weapons were words, and the occasional stick or stone. I cannot remember who won these battles, or what we were fighting for. I don’t even remember speaking to your people because they were in the vis class, and I was in the fish class.

Read more…

Categories: Afrikaans Tags: , ,

Discovering Identity Through History

July 16th, 2009 8 comments

sa_schoolI was attending a private school from the age of 3. My brother and sister, both younger than me, soon joined the same school. This meant that my parents, both of whom were schoolteachers, had to work very hard to ensure that they could make ends meet. This also mean that there was no time for them to sit us down and explain the countries political climate, especially since it would mean that they would destroy our otherwise wonderful lives. I was very happy living in my little bubble, completely oblivious to the reality, which was South Africa.

Historically it has always been the upper class that has the luxury to sit and discuss political issues, laws and whatever else may tickle their fancy. On the whole the working class is far too busy dealing with the reality and trying to survive from day to day. So my parents lived the reality so that we may relish the fantasy. I enjoyed a childhood the way any child should. I had friends of all different races and I would attend their parties and even go to the odd sleep over. I grew older and I discovered women. Looking back I notice that I actually only had white girlfriends and they ranged from Italian and Jewish girls to Afrikaans girls.

Of course there were incidents that could have tipped me off, such as stay aways, the constant police harassment, marches and the occasional ‘toy toy’. Even when Nelson Mandela was released, I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of it all. This would all change because we would soon be studying South Africa in History…

thsUp until now my life read like a happy E True Hollywood Story. I had come from nothing, but because of opportunities made available by my parents (through immense sacrifice) I was now a quasi-TV Star. With appearances on KTV, Kids Cooking and Kids Can, I was earning good money, loving all the attention and I was re-defining the term ‘living it up!’ Every circle I socialized in was within its own bubble and this kept me ‘protected’ from ‘the truth’. These were the days when I was just another teen having a great time. Things were less complicated because we were all just ‘Redhillians’, playing together, learning together and sticking together. Unfortunately for us, things were about to fall apart!

I recall the day when I was sitting in History and we began tackling the subject of South African History. With each lesson, layer after protective layer was being peeled off and the truth was beginning to rear its ugly head- and it was hideous! I remember how we (the fortunate black students) began talking amongst ourselves about how messed up the country was. Some of our peers began feeling superior to us. We had no right to be treated like this because we were South African dammit! Thus began the rude awakening, which also marked the departure of a new journey of self-discovery…