To my ears, Afrikaans has a long, heavy sound. The straat in Pretoria are full of Vans. Van Reeseman, Van Riebeeck, Van Heerden, Van Der Hoff, Van Der Stell. The straat vowels are like the stretched avenues that part the city — Daspoort, Haarhoff, Moot, Root, Bloed. The Voortrekkers had scattered Afrikaans inland, away from the English Cape, away from their 1902 defeat, where I was to find it and where the pupils in the Black townships were forced to learn it. The Afrikaners had a National Party and wanted a national language. It was a powerful language, a tongue that crushed anti-Afrikaans demonstrations in Soweto. To hell with Afrikaans. Do not want Afrikaans.



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