Nelson Mandela spoke Afrikaans

Journal B

All languages ​​are equivalent and Bern is everywhere, including South Africa with its eleven official and de jure languages.

IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Afrikaans, English, Isi-Ndebele, SeSotho, Sesotho, SeTswana, SiSwati, TshiVenda, Xitsonga.

Unlike Bern, I haven't been everywhere, including South Africa. Too bad. If I - like Bern - had already been to South Africa and perhaps even as a journalist interviewing high-ranking politicians, I would now have been able to report in my obituary for the greatest politician of the 20th century like the Africa correspondent of the Tages-Anzeiger that I I not only talked to Nelson Mandela several times, but also peed standing next to him once (or Mandela stepped next to the already peeing correspondent, brought the obligatory “How are you” to the next man at this place, and then left the noise his urination can be heard, which proved to him - the man next to you and correspondent - that Mandela is also a human being. Whether the proof is worth a lot, when everything is possible for the gods, remains to be seen).

I've digressed, it's not about urinating, it's about the equality of languages. But here, too, the question arises as to whether Mandela was really a human or not just a God disguised as a human. I think that only gods can treat every language with the same respect and appreciation. And even more so when it comes to the language of the oppressors who put you in jail when you fight for your freedom. Now Mandela has started in Robben Island prison to learn the language of his oppressors, the Afrikaans of the Boers. Initially, this was based on a very practical interest: In this way, he was able to gain the trust of his white guards and gain advantages. And later his language skills and the knowledge he acquired about the culture of the Boers helped him in the negotiations with the white rulers when it came to abolishing apartheid. But do you learn poems written in Afrikaans by heart for political reasons, as Mandela did? Inspired by the spirit of reconciliation, has he begun to appreciate Afrikaans, perhaps even to love it like English or IsiXhosa? Maybe he was actually able to do that, maybe there was a reserve, because, let's assume, Mandela was a man and not a god.

And what about the equality of languages ​​in South Africa today, does it only exist on paper or also in reality and to what extent? I would be happy to ask someone who may not have been everywhere, but has been to South Africa, to explain this to me.