South Africa had a unique linguistic history in general with a combination of African languages being used, as well as Malay being used in Muslim schools. In the beginning of the 19th century though, Afrikaans started to replace Malay, albeit written with an Arabic script. In the late 19th century, publications were produced by Afrikaans speakers, which included religious materials as well as dictionary and grammars. By 1925, Afrikaans had been recognized as its own language, as opposed to just dialect of Dutch.
Afrikaans has been a linguistic core of the development of the languages that exist in South Africa today, including the development of South African English. South African English contains a number of Afrikaans loan words for everyday concepts. For example, tekkies for sneakers, braai for barbeque, and more.
However due to the racial tensions in South Africa, Afrikaans is a highly politicized language. Afrikaans, as a representative of Afrikaaner culture, and therefore a symbol of European oppression in Africa, is not a language of prestige among the Black community. Thus, many oppose its use, especially in fields of education. Examples of this include a rebellion that occurred in Soweto at a secondary school, when the government decided that Afrikaans should be used to teach half the subjects. Eventually, this decision was withdrawn. Another example occurred in 2015 when there were student protests that resulted in violence. Instead, English is preferred, even though it is the native language of only about 8% of the population.
Despite the political and cultural emotions, and its association as a ‘Caucasian’ language, the majority of Afrikaans speakers are not white, according to some surveys conducted. In addition, Afrikaans is still one of eleven official languages in South Africa. It is a language that remains prevalent in mass media, being the second most used language after English in this regard. Afrikaans remains influential in entertainment, literature, and education as their is a market that caters to Afrikaans speaker, even though it is not treated with as much preference as in the Apartheid era. There is even a monument erected in recognition of its status, called the Afrikaans Language Monument. In Namibia, as a recognized official language along with German, it is still used as a lingua franca, due to sizeable populations of Afrikaans speakers.
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