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The Past helps understand the Future

To answer the future of Afrikaans, it is important to understand the past. Ever since the British arrived in South Africa (early 1800s) they put Afrikaans under pressure. There was the firm belief that by replacing the Afrikaans with English they would Anglicize the population. Here are some of the effort: * pastors in the churches were replaced with English pastors; * the courts became English; * Government correspondence was in English; *Schooling was switched to English and those who spoke Afrikaans on the playground were shamed for doing so.  Yet, despite the pressure, the language survived and then flourished.

Apartheid and Isolation

Apartheid artificially framed the language as belonging to the white population. After apartheid, the non-white speaking majority entered the stage and the richness of the language is more prominent that before.

Isolation kept the language relatively unaffected by other linguistic influences. In the post-apartheid South Africa, English has risen significantly in prominence ans the default lingua franca. Many Afrikaans speakers now speak much more English than before, and the feel of English syntax is deeply impacting the feel of Afrikaans.

Afrikaans has largely lost its stigma as the 'language of the oppressor" The language has many diverse ethnic faces to represent it.

Post-Apartheid and Diaspora

The South Africa of today did not materialize in every way to be an ideal environment for all South Africa's citizens. The policy of Black Empowerment, has forced companies to hire from groups other that the white male population. Thus many white women are now in the work force as a targeted group for advancement. Such is also the case for Indian, Colored, Black, and Chinese persons of either gender. This has lead to many white males facing a forced career change. This issue and the climate of crime and corruption has encouraged many to immigrate. Hence, there are thriving South African communities is Australia, New Zealand, the UK and elsewhere in Europe, Canada, and the USA.

Internet and Global Village Options

The blessing of cheap and even free communication globally has helped many expats to better maintain their identity. Radio programs in South Africa often have participation from overseas listeners.