South Africa - Diverse In Culture But Could Be Uni Essay

This essay has a total of 1273 words and 7 pages.

South Africa - Diverse In Culture But Could Be Unified In Language

South Africa is diverse in culture but could be unified in language. English should be
South Africa's unifying language. It is necessary to understand what nationhood is, so
that you the reader realise that a national language does not alter a nation. It binds the
nation. I will also discuss South Africa's diverse cultures and how a unifying language
can merge these cultures. Lastly, I will demonstrate the links between language and
identity.


The concept of a nation is not easily defined.
"Nationalism is a deeply contradictory enterprise."
(P Brooker, 1999,148).

Our nation is one that has been formed over many years and languages have been brought to
us through imperialism, immigrants and time. We have to accept that, "for most nations of
the world to escape the profound experience of imperialism would be in fact to escape
their own actual history" (P Brooker, 1999,148). We cannot deny that there is an
assortment of language, which abound this nation. However, we need to choose one unifying
language, which we can all use. This is essential for purposes of communication and
mediation, which I will discuss later. This national language would be the only official
language and English would be the unifying language.


Identity is an ever-changing concept. South Africans sexuality, class, gender, race and
even language determine our identity.


"Contemporary identities can therefore be fluid or consciously delimited. Any number of
factors are likely to be under negotiation in either case; whether of religion, nation,
language, political ideology or cultural expression" (P Brooker, 1999,109).


Our South African identity is one which has changed through imperialism and it is one that
has changed through apartheid and it is one which will continue changing in order to
progress therefore a national language such as English can become a part of this ever
changing south African identity. A national language will not change the identities of
South Africans, it will enhance it. People will still speak their different languages
however when we are together we will have a common form of communication.


In English-medium schools, for example, English is used as a medium for the study of a
wide range of subjects. The students and the teachers come from different cultural
backgrounds and many speak different languages at home but they use a common language for
educational purposes. This means that an Indian teacher, who maybe speaks Tamil at home,
can teach students, who might speak Zulu at home, using a common language, (S.Bochner,
1982,103). This becomes important when one thinks of the costs involved in producing
textbooks for these schools. If one national language is used then textbooks can be in one
language and therefore alleviate printing costs.


Literature is a means of uniting people. If we in South Africa use a national language we
not only unite the nation, but also take away any confusion.


"A national literature is one that takes the whole nation of its province and has a
realised or potential audience throughout its territory .In other words a literature that
is written in the national language"(Achebe. C, 1975,55-62).


I am not saying that our literature must all only be in the official language. I am saying
that our literature should include all the diversities of our nation and it should be
understandable to all the people of our nation.


Many cultures form South Africa .We may be diverged in culture but we can be united in
language. "Indeed, South Africa is one of the most hybridised countries on the continent,
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