Afrikaans

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The term Afrikaans can be used as a noun or as an adjective.

Afrikaans as a Noun

As a noun is refers to the language Afrikaans (literally "the language of Africa"). It is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa and is derived from 17th century Dutch, English, French and many of the indigenous African languages, as well as words languages brought to the Cape by workers from the Dutch East Indies. Initially considered an inferior slang or creole type language, for it was still close to Dutch in form and spelling, scathingly referred to as "Kitchen Dutch", or more formally as Cape Dutch and Kaaps-Hollands, it gradually became accepted and in 1925 became an official language of the country. (See the Afrikaanse Taalstryd ("Afrikaans Language Struggle".)

It is today spoken to some degree by an estimated total of 15 to 23 million people in South Africa and Namibia, and is the mother tongue of at least 4 million.

Though it is often considered one of the key identifying markers used to identify the so-called "Afrikaners", but is not no means exclusively spoken by that group, but is widely used in the country and has a strong literature and is used for all purposes, including the academic, artistic, publishing, economic, political, religious, sporting, and other spheres.

The issue of enforced study of Afrikaans in schools under the Nationalist Government was of course one of the catalysts for the initial uprisings of 1976.

in the later 1980s an increasing concern arose about the future of the language, inter alia sparking the whole Afrikaans arts festival movement, a vast increase in Afrikaans professional theatre, and the founding of an even larger number of Afrikaans cultural organizations.

After the 1994, there was an initial period of co-existence, but since the turn of the 20th century there has been increasing pressure to remove Afrikaans as a dominant means of administration, teaching, business, broadcasting, general communication in the country - coming to head at Universities and other institutions in 2015-6.

See also Afrikaans-Nederlands, Dutch, Cape-Dutch, Nederlands, Hollands, Kaaps-Hollands and Kaaps. In the case of the prolific playwright Melt J. Brink, who spoke, and wrote his early plays in, Dutch, his later stage language would be referred to as "Brink Afrikaans" - a kind of Dutch-influenced Afrikaans.

Afrikaans as an adjective

When used as an adjective in conjunction with a noun it refers to anything created, managed and belonging to the Afrikaans speaking segment of the society.

More specifically with reference to arts and culture, it normally refers to any creative output using Afrikaans as medium or of importance to the Afrikaans-speaking community. Thus Afrikaans Theatre (Afrikaanse Teater or Afrikaanse Toneel in Afrikaans), Afrikaans Film (Afrikaanse Rolprent, Afrikaanse Film), Afrikaans Literature (Afrikaanse Letterkunde), Afrikaans Music, and so on, could refer to two things:

1. The large body of creative, popular and academic work written, published and/or performed in the language of Afrikaans (or at least predominantly in Afrikaans, for the late 20th century saw the rise of many multilingual and/or cross-cultural plays, films, TV programmes, etc.). This in many instances includes foreign works in Afrikaans translation.

2. The specific and separate Afrikaans cultural system which encompasses the works and their publication and performance, as well as the supporting administrations systems, audiences, critical system and so on. Though not a formally constituted entity, the notion of some kind of Afrikaans cultural system, which differs from other subsystems, (e.g. the Dutch, English, French, German, Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, and so on), has existed from the late 19th century, and is still generally accepted today - despite the ostensible "democratization" of the South African rainbow nation. The concept of a language specific has at times of course been a means of exclusion (the Dutch and/or Afrikaans by the English and vice versa; the Xhosa by the English and Afrikaans systems, and vice versa. However, it has also been a source of cultural pride and of creativity.

For the purposes of this encyclopaedia, Afrikaans Theatre for example would thus normally refer to work created and staged in Afrikaans by South Africans, while English Theatre would refer to works in the English language staged in South Africa and/or work created and staged in English by South Africans. (Theatre performed in England and the British Isles would be called British Theatre, though the term English theatre is also found in this case. Likewise, theatre in and from Germany would be German Theatre, from the USA would be American theatre, and so forth)

The same would apply to terms like Afrikaans music, Afrikaans literature (i.e. writing in Afrikaans), concepts such as an Afrikaans university or Afrikaans school (where the language of instruction would be predominantly Afrikaans), Afrikaans churches, Afrikaans business, etc.

See also Afrikaner, Afrikaan,

Sources

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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