The varieties of Afrikaans as carriers of identity: A socio-cultural perspective [Die variëteite van Afrikaans as draers van identiteit: 'n sosiokulturele perspektief]

Le Cordeur M. (2011)


This article builds on the exploration of the negotiation of identity via language in post-apartheid South Africa. Specifically, it looks at the ways in which the various varieties of the Afrikaans language underpin the individual and collective identities of those Afrikaans-speaking people classified as "Coloured" and marginalised by poverty, location and race. Alexander (1994:24) points out that Afrikaans in the past often had been misused for political reasons in the search for identity. From a socio-cultural perspective and by means of a literature review this article will reflect on the origin and development of Afrikaans, amongst others: Cape Afrikaans and the related dialect of Muslim Afrikaans, Namakwalands and Griqua Afrikaans as examples of Orange River Afrikaans, as well as Karoo Afrikaans and Tsotsitaal as examples of Eastern Border Afrikaans. Interviews were conducted with representative speakers of the various varieties of Afrikaans, whilst the lyrics of Afrikaans songs prominent in some Afrikaans-speaking areas were also studied. The data gained from the literature review, supported by the evidence collected from the interviews and the songs, showed that the various varieties of Afrikaans are a sound indicator of identity in those Afrikaans-speaking communities under review.

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