Should we speak Afrikaans? Charlize Theron calls language of South African settlers ‘not useful’

The South African actress, whose mother tongue it is, is not sorry for the “disappearance” of this idiom, used by 12% of her compatriots.

Afrikaans, language of the descendants of the colonists of South Africa, today useless? South African actress Charlize Theron’s blunt comment sparked strong reactions in the country on Thursday. Guest of the SmartLess podcast, the 47-year-old Afrikaner actress, born in Benoni near Johannesburg and now living in the United States, felt that her native language was “notnot very useful“. “There are about 44 people who still speak it, it is definitely an endangered language. It’s not a very useful languageshe laughed in the episode that aired on Monday. She also says that she did not really know how to speak English before arriving in the United States at the age of 19.

South Africa has eleven official languages ​​for a population of almost 60 million. Afrikaans is the third most spoken language (12.2%) after Zulu (25.6%) and Xhosa (14.8%). “Charlize Theron may be an exceptional actress, but she’s misinformed when it comes to her native language“, lambasted Thursday in a press release the small Afrikaner party Freedom Front Plus, detailing the statistics. “The use of Afrikaans has increased overall“Defended a user, among the many comments on Twitter. “You are disrespectful of Afrikaans speakers and your familyanother posted.

Thirty years after the end of apartheid, the question of language is still sensitive in South Africa and regularly gives rise to controversy, particularly in education. In 2020, the controversial decision of one of the country’s largest universities, University of South Africa (UNISA), to abolish the language of the descendants of Dutch settlers, ended up being overturned by the courts.

During the deadly riots in Soweto in 1976 against the apartheid regime, schoolchildren had originally risen up against Afrikaans being imposed as the language of instruction in black schools. “Be proud of your language, don’t force others to speak it“, tweeted a user. “Thank you Charlize Theron, this racist language is dying“, for his part, commented a South African on the social network.

A member of parliament from the radical and predominantly black Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, posted a message of support for the actress along with a film image of her, dark glasses and a gun. fire in hand.

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