A teacher at Fairview Primary School in Grassy Park has made it her mission to change the stigma attached to the Afrikaans language.
Elane Swart, whose first language is Afrikaans, but who ironically has been an English teacher for more than three decades, said to many pupils at the English school, Afrikaans is seen as uncool language and most struggle to speak it.
“We have Afrikaans as a secondary language but the teachers have found that many of the children have very little understanding or speak English even du-
ring Afrikaans lessons. Their Afrikaans vocabulary is very lim-
ited so they end up speaking broken Afrikaans, if at all,” said Ms Swart.
“We want to show the children that Afrikaans is not an inferior language and that they will probably need it later on in life when they look for a job. One language is just not sufficient. In the working world, being bilingual is an advantage,” she said.
To promote the language, the school has launched a Woordfees where they have various programmes in Afrikaans.
Although the initiative only started last month, Ms Swart said the school will run it from the beginning of next year and
hopefully it will be rolled out to other schools.
“The idea is to extend an invitation to other schools in the hope that we will be able to run competitions, quizzes and programmes with them and hopefully that way we also increase the Afrikaans second language marks,” said Ms Swart.
So far, staff at the school have lined hallways and classrooms with Afrikaans words and the reception area is decorated with colourful Afrikaans displays as part of the woordfees.
Grade 7 pupil Deandra Riddels said she speaks Afrikaans to her grandparents.
“I don’t think my Afrikaans is that bad, but it’s not perfect so the school’s initiative will definitely help improve it,” she said.
Another Grade 7 pupil, Maa-hirah Sherfodien said her Afrikaans is not as good as she wants it to be but hopes the woordfees will help with this.
“I don’t understand the language too well but seeing the Afrikaans words pasted in the school hallways and lessons, quizzes and tests we get as part of the woord-
fees will hopefully help me be-
come fluent in the language,” she said.
Other primary schools staff who are interested in participating or want to know more about the woordfees can call the school on 021 705 2182.