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Is Afrikaans in Danger of Dying Out?

Once the language of dominance and power in South Africa, Afrikaans may now be at risk of disappearing. Developed by white settlers, it cemented race barriers and rose to prominence under apartheid. With the rise of Mandela and equal rights in South Africa, the country grapples with the role that such a controversial language should continue to play in today’s society. A systemic winnowing of its use, however, has called its future into question. In recent years, the debate has turned to higher education. Old, conservative institutions that were once seen as the cornerstone of white Afrikaner nationalism have recently been forced to adopt language policies relinquishing the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction in favour of English, such as the University of Stellenbosch.