South Africa: The Supposedly Liberal DA's Stance On the Stellenbosch University Afrikaans Language Policy Is Perplexing


Does the DA really think that it will gain traction in any other cultural groupings in the country by supporting white Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch who place Afrikaner language rights ahead of multiculturalism and accessibility?

Just where is the new DA headed? In a recent Opinionista piece in Daily Maverick, Ryan Smith, DA leader John Steenhuisen's chief of staff, nailed his party's colours to the mast by arguing that the DA intended to uphold our liberal constitution by supporting Afrikaans language rights. Steenhuisen himself has associated the DA with liberalism. As he recently claimed, South Africa has a choice: a choice between the ANC's socialism and the DA's liberalism.

Of course, he seems to have conveniently forgotten that social democratic parties across the world are liberal in outlook. But the real question is, is the new DA really a liberal party?

In some ways this is a strange claim. "Liberal" did, certainly during apartheid, become a euphemism for white English-speaking middle-class racists. A person uncomfortable with the National Party's abuses but not entirely uncomfortable with the leisure and protection they afforded. But nothing could be further from the truth. The liberals, who defined themselves as such and formed the Liberal...

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