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The Linguistic Landscape of Post-Apartheid South Africa

The Linguistic Landscape of Post-Apartheid South Africa

Dr. Liesel Hibbert


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The appointment of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1994 signalled the end of apartheid and transition to a new democratic constitution. This book studies discursive trends during the first twenty years of the new democracy, outlining the highlights and challenges of transforming policy, practice and discursive formations. The book analyses a range of discourses which signal how and by what processes the linguistic landscape and identities of South Africa’s inhabitants have changed in this time, finding that struggles in South African politics go hand in hand with shifts in the linguistic landscape. In a country now characterised by multilingualism, heteroglossia, polyphony and translanguaging, the author debates where the discourse practices of those born post-1994 may lead.

Liesel Hibbert is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Her interests include discourse studies, South African writing, linguistic ethnography, political rhetoric, stylistics, the bilingual classroom and higher education pedagogy. Her previous publications include Multilingual Universities in South Africa (Multilingual Matters, 2014), which she co-edited with Christa van der Walt.

The linguistic landscape of post-apartheid South Africa is of a bewildering complexity. Liesel Hibbert's study admirably aims to paint a picture that does justice to the different voices and viewpoints in this constellation. Her book is essential reading not only for those wishing to learn more about the sociolinguistics of contemporary South Africa, but also for readers with a more theoretical interest in linguistic pluralism in a conflict-ridden postcolonial setting.

This is a welcome contribution on post-apartheid discursive practices in the media and other modalities, as well as on discourses of identity, diversity, empowerment and socio-economic transformation in the new South Africa. The book will definitely appeal to language practitioners, linguistics students and academics as well as those in the fields of literary studies, history, sociology, economics and politics.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents vii
Preface ix
Introduction 1
1 The Release of Nelson Mandela as the Advent of Democracy 12
2 Shifts in the Linguistic Landscape, post 1994 20
3 Linguistic Changes in Parliament 1994–1998: Paving the Way for Linguistic Democracy 29
4 Reconfigured Features of the African Oral Tradition 44
5 Recontextualised Residues of Rhetoric from the Previous Era 59
6 Historical Explanations for Literacy Backlogs in South Africa 67
7 Black South African English Versus Other African Englishes in the 1990s 75
8 The Rhetoric of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance 85
9 The Debate on African Identity in South Africa 90
10 Expressions of Neo-Traditional Patriarchy in the Speeches of President Zuma 104
11 Return to Self-Censorship in Political Journalism: Echoes of the 1950s and 1960s 120
12 Localisation Initiatives 132
13 The Position of African Languages 140
14 Superdiversity and Translanguaging: A New Discursive Order? 148
References 157
Index 166