African students at Wits expressed dissatisfaction with the university’s policy prohibiting them from registering for any African languages courses taught at the university.
These came in awake when several students tried to apply for African languages courses but were denied admission to these courses.
Lesedi Masebe, 2nd year BA, said, “I should be allowed to learn any language, especially a South African language regardless of the colour of my skin or where I live or who I socialize with.”
Head of the African Languages department Dr. Mhlambi said, “Students who can speak Zulu and who come from communities where they are exposed to other African languages are encouraged to take up Drama, Ritual and Performance 1 or The History and Relationship of South African Languages instead.”
According to Wits’ 2012 rules and syllabus handbook in order for learners to pass any African language they “need to have satisfied the Head of School that s/he is proficient in one of these languages so as to warrant his/her admission.”
Mhlambi said in order for a mother tongue speaker to take up the alternatives to Elementary IsiZulu, they need to be able to read and write IsiZulu.
Masebe said although she can speak the language she cannot read or write it.
“The subjects teach students about the science of the language as well as its literature, but the examples are given in English and repeated in IsiZulu. There are a number of non-mother tongue speakers taking the course so mother tongue speakers should adjust easily” said Mhlambi.
TheEuropean Modern Languages department told Vuvuzela that students who taken a European language in first year but can speak it or have taken it in high school are transferred to second year.
Mabatho Ngoepe, 1st year BA, said, “The English and European Modern Language departments should be treated the same.”
Mhlambi said the African Languages department currently does not have a policy in place to allow students to move a year higher.
“We trying to get the policy passed through the faculty but due to the limited resources we have, it may take some time”, said Mhlambi.