To Afrikaans or NOT to Afrikaans
by Philip Scott
Everyone who knows me, knows I always speak (or write) from the heart. Even though I am very lighthearted and known for being a bit of a clown and not taking life too seriously, when I am serious, I say what I say with conviction. Anyone who knows me also knows that Im not very quick to get angry and I believe I take criticism very well. Well, constructive criticism anyway.
Today I was told via email by Riki Just a Mommy that I should be ashamed of myself because I am neglecting my mother tongue (Afrikaans duh). I never thought Id feel that insulted that I would actually write my column about this, but I do. Im offended because this is clearly suggested by someone who doesnt know me, hasnt bothered to gather the facts and does not know my passion for the well being of Southern Africans from all walks of life, especially those living in Australia. Im told by Riki that there are many who read the English Sabona because there is nothing else, and that I make a point of speaking English to Afrikaners.
So, if Im that upset and offended, and if shes wrong, then why am I writing this in English? Because Im stubborn and I like to get my own way, and by writing in English Im able to make a statement, and maybe Ill annoy Riki and all my other critics into action!
Apparently Riki met me 10 years ago and I insisted on speaking English even though shes Afrikaans. Interestingly enough 10 years ago (1999) was the year Sabona was first launched (yes it has been around that long!) by myself and my good friend Deryck Nicholl. Afrikaners who know me better, like Matilda Scarfe from Maleny, will surely recall how during these early years I used to write half of my editors column in Afrikaans (That was back in the day when I was the editor no wonder it struggled in those days!)
I used to appeal to all the Afrikaners who read Sabona to write in and submit articles in Afrikaans. I used to discuss issues like how to teach my kids Afrikaans in an English household (my wife is a New Zealander). I even suggested we try and somehow introduce some Afrikaans tutoring into some of the local schools a suggestion that did not go down well amongst many, by the way. Unlike Riki, I actually have proof of all this IN WRITING!
Since the inception of Sabona I have hounded the Afrikaanse Klub to provide us with articles and content for the magazine because I so badly wanted to have some Afrikaans content. It is only recently that I have finally managed to convince the club to become more involved. In fact this will be just our second issue featuring dedicated pages on the Afrikaanse Klub.
While on that subject, it may be worth noting that I also designed and built the Afrikaanse Klub website (free of charge) and we have been hosting and supporting their website (free of charge) for the last two or three years.
Someone else suggested this week that Sabona is very negative! This comment was made because weve been working hard on raising awareness about people on 457 visas (and Ive been vocal in the past about my concerns regarding 457 visas). Weve also been asking for help for people in need, helping them find jobs and helping them pay their bills, just to be told that we are using sensationalism because it sells!
Its not the first time weve been criticised, so really I should be used to it. Weve been called the magazine for White South Africans because we dont have enough people of colour in the magazine, yet at the same time we used to have Afrikaners refuse to read our magazine because of the name Sabona. I know we cant keep everyone happy all of the time, but seriously this is ridiculous. So for the record I am a Christian (and very proud of that). I am an Afrikaner and proudly speak Afrikaans. If you speak English to me I will assume that is your preference and I will answer you back in English. Speak Afrikaans and so will I. Even though I refuse to wear Safari suits, I happen to think my Afrikaans is excellent, but hey, you be the judge! Ring me on 0413996173 and test me! Then write an article in Afrikaans to publish your findings! Or at the very least visit the link at the bottom of this article and comment!
If you want to see more Afrikaans in Sabona, then help us find people who will write articles for us in Afrikaans. I do not write the articles in the magazine! I write this one and frankly it is a business column and it is read by many, many people who do not understand Afrikaans and neither does our editor! (Shes Zimbabwean!) Our business networking functions are frequented by a large number of Australians and I think it would be rather rude and stupid to be speaking Afrikaans at these functions when I address everyone.
So people hear me speak, hear my name, and ASSUME I am English speaking and then speak English to me.
Believe it or not, we have many Aussies that read our magazine because theyre interested in what we, as a community, are up to. Theyre impressed with the fact that we are so good at supporting our own community boy do we have them fooled. We have a few things to learn from the Jewish, the Greeks and the Italians! Next Ill be told Im arrogant. For that I have no defense.