St John's College

Afrikaans as a language has seen an explosion of growth in South Africa since 1994, with cultural, musical, theatrical and literary activities soaring countrywide. It is interesting that, according to a recent study by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), more black, coloured, and Indian South Africans speak Afrikaans at home than white South Africans. These figures are based on data from the 2011 Census, which showed that only 40% of those who speak Afrikaans at home are whites.

This means that of 6.9-million people who speak the language at home, 2.7-million are white, while the rest are from other racial groups. Afrikaans is the third-biggest language group in the country after isiZulu and isiXhosa and is by far the most spoken second language in the country.

These statistics alone ought to encourage the boys to develop their knowledge of this young, dynamic and expressive language.

The Afrikaans department arranges an annual excursion for Lower V pupils, where pupils are immersed in the Afrikaans culture over a period of three days. Pupils are exposed to traditional Afrikaans “boerekos” and partake in traditional games and activities. We also arrange trips to festivals such as Aardklop in Potchefstroom, have Afrikaans speech and creative writing competitions and constantly encourage the boys to engage with the language in more informal settings.

We embrace the use of modern teaching practices using a variety of devices, platforms and methodologies. An exciting new addition to the Afrikaans department’s activities is the introduction of an evening of Afrikaans drama, poetry and song where boys and staff showcase their talents. The members of the department offer free consolidation classes throughout the week.