Language policy

CONGRATULATIONS on a well voiced opinion on the situation at South African universities regarding the language policy at these institutions of higher learning.

As a retired academic your balanced views and facts about the realities of constitutional language rights are appreciated. Combined with proven advantages of mother tongue education it becomes a serious breach of human rights to ignore thousands of students for whom English is a only second and often a third language.

I enjoy your column every week and look forward to the Talk of the Town and its interesting articles.

However, being a member of the South African Geographical Names Council prompts me to draw your attention to the wrong name used for Boesmansriviermond, which is the registered and official name of the village. Of course the translation (Bushman’s River Mouth) is used in conversations and informal communication, but it would be incorrect to refer to the village in that way in official articles.

Similarly the river between Boesmansriviermond and Kenton-on-Sea is the Boesmans Rivier, because Bushman’s River is the official registered river in KZN. It becomes confusing to use the same name for both rivers. Fortunately we who are locals know when the article refers to a local geographical entity.

It is good to see that at least one local property agent uses the correct name in advertisements, ie Boesmansriviermond, the name on all the road signs recently erected.