Friday, October 19, 2012


So this is the second question I'm frequently asked: 'Do you come from an Afrikaans background?'

Um, no. My family is English, Scottish, Irish, German, going back a generation at a time, in that order and split between the maternal and the paternal (if you can work that one out!) The closest I came is that my maternal grandmother had an Afrikaans stepmother. Those were still early days of this newish language, and my gran learned high Dutch in school.

But me, I learned little Afrikaans in school, mainly because of going to England as per my previous post. It was during the years that we lived on a farm in the Cape wine-growing area that I grew used to hearing it around me, and began to appreciate its special character and charm. This was because most of our farm workers were 'so-called coloureds', i.e. of mixed-ethnicity. That was also when I learned to speak it a little.

Generally, I'm a lover of language and languages. When we came to Canada, I was truly astonished to discover prejudices between English and French, just as there used to be in South Africa between English and Afrikaans. Isn't it time we got over this?

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