On Wednesday, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, made his debut in Parliament.Â In between slating President Jacob Zuma and the ANC government,Â Malema criticisedÂ white peopleÂ who can’t speak African languages.Â â€œAs part of nation building maybe we need to take harsh steps by not celebrating any white person who doesn’t at least know or make an effort to at least know one of our African languages,â€ he said.
PONTSHO PILANI polled young people in the Johannesburg city centre to find out what they thought of Malemaâ€
Justin Haddon, 22
â€œI agree with Julius Malemaâ€
Karen Muyengwa, 21
â€œThere are too many official languages; I donâ€
Patrick Nolan, 22
â€œWe are a diverse country and all of us, regardless of race, should learn other languages. Personally, I would have loved to have mastered an African language already. Since I am [based] in the Eastern Cape, I want to learn Xhosa because I plan to be a priest and I want to be able to communicate with all people. With regards to implementation, I would think that it should happen at local government level because of the various languages we have in South Africa. For primary school learners, it should be offered as an option to learn and also for adults; government should have initiatives partnering with companies to offer short courses on learning an African language. I think Julius Malema made this suggestion because he is interested in uniting this country further, he is doing it to further enrich us as a nation.
Daniel Vieira, 21
I think it is a good idea and it is great to be exposed to different cultures but I donâ€
Gautum Rao, 21
I think that it should be incentivised for people to learn another language. There should be a desire to actually learn the language. For me, it was growing up in a township in Venda that made me want to learn TshiVenda because I wanted to make friends. Forcing it however would be bringing back a re-imaged form of Bantu Education.Â I was forced to learn TshiVenda in primary school and I couldnâ€