Language policy and terminology in South Africa

Bassey E. Antia
Table of contents

In the aftermath of the transition to a democratically elected government in 1994, South Africa presented itself to the world as a Rainbow Nation, one that would be committed to acknowledging and accommodating its multifaceted diversity. The basis for pursuing this ideal is easily appreciated when one looks at the diverse origins of the country’s population. In addition to the first peoples (the Khoe and the San) who lived in the area for millennia, and Africans from elsewhere who settled there as far back as the 12th century, the area of present-day South Africa has for over 300 years been home to people with ancestry that is both European (e.g. Portuguese, Dutch, British, French, German, Portuguese) and Asian (e.g. Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian) (Beukes 2004, 3).

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