Tag Archives: language

Please, mind your language

By Yolanda Mitchell Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. This is a core value on which the Constitution is founded. Who doesn’t want to live in a country founded on such a noble base? It sounds like the Promised Land after all — especially to as many…

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Teaching and learning in the ‘network society’

Teaching at university in the early 21st century requires of lecturers that they take the “lifeworld” in which students live seriously. This lifeworld comprises what Manuel Castells (2010) calls the “Network Society” (see here) – a global society that has actualised an ever-expanding web or network of electronic means of information and communication. The fact…

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The only clown here is the cartoonist

Everywhere you go, some shit word will collide with you on the wrong side of the road. — Dambudzo Marechera, The Black Insider I have a profound respect for language. Words dream us into being and knit together the world around us. Think of this passage from your trusted King James Bible: “In the beginning…

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Mirror wars

The crime novel I referred to in my last post (The diversity of individuals), Leif Persson’s Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End) is a real treasure trove of wisdom on life, love, good, evil, and a host of other things that really matter. It is much more than just a crime novel; it is a…

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Time to rethink justice in Africa

I recently attended a public lecture by acclaimed author, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, titled The Language of Justice in Africa. The lecture was on how the English language has assumed its powerful status in Anglophone Africa and how the justice systems in these countries, premised on English codes, may actually be miscarrying justice by virtue of…

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The problem is the Englishness*

I teach English. People often have a quizzical look when I respond to the question: “Which subjects do you teach?” (I won’t belabour the race issue that underpins the subtext of the quizzical look seeing as there aren’t many black English teachers in the southern suburbs of Cape Town). I often try to explain to…

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Should black women learn their husbands’ language?

By Melo Magolego The taste of tepid Tupperware-scented tea is one of the more vivid memories of my formative schooling years in the rural village of Ga-Mampuru — in the Sekhukhune region of Limpopo. I had until the age of four lived with my maternal grandparents in a township bordering Pretoria to the north-west. It…

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Reclaiming ‘bitch’ a pointless exercise

I need us to get serious for a few minutes. Let’s take some time to cut the jokes for once and start to look at this issue with the seriousness it deserves. Because I’m quite sure if we did, we’d be able to agree on the sham that is “reclamation of words”. “Reclamation of words”…

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Blacks must stop sucking up to whites

I would have loved to write this article in my own native language, but Thought Leader does not make allowance for its black columnists to write in a language understood by most of the 42 million blacks in our country. It is a guideline of the blog that we must write in a language historically…

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Whose language is it anyway?

By Athambile Masola The language question has reared its ugly head again. Recently Rebecca Davis wrote an article about research that confirms “English is leading the way as the most preferred teaching language”. As an English teacher this ought to make me happy. However, I am not convinced that the findings from this research account…

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