Prof Michael le Cordeur from Stellenbosch University (SU) was recently honoured for his lifelong and outstanding service to the Afrikaans language community.
The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM), in association with the Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans (Foundation for Empowerment through Afrikaans, SBA), awarded Le Cordeur with the 2020 Neville Alexander Prestige Award for the promotion of Afrikaans.
He received prize money to the value of R20 000 in total that was sponsored by Naspers, which he will donate to the District Six Museum in Cape Town.
“Receiving the Neville Alexander Prestige Award is a great honour for me, because it binds me forever to the man who was an inspiration to me as well as a mentor. The value of this cannot be defined in words, much less measured in monetary value. I hope that my prize money can bring a little bit of relief to the District Six Museum, as it is such an important beacon of historical significance in our country," says Le Cordeur.
Le Cordeur is a former language teacher, high school principal and Circuit Manager, who is now a National Research Fund-rated researcher. He has served the Afrikaans language community in various positions over the years, including being the chair of the Western Cape Language Committee where he co-authored the Western Cape Language Policy under the leadership of Alexander with equal status to isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English.
He currently chairs the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at SU and also serves on the board of directors of the SBA, and is a member of the Internationale Centrum voor het Afrikaans at Gent University and the International Association for Research in Language Education.
According to Le Cordeur, it is important that every child and student be empowered to be taught in the language of his or her choice. He believes this award could not have come at a better time in his own career, as it has motivated him once more to help achieve Prof Neville Alexander's lifelong dream of advocating for multilingualism and mother-tongue education in South Africa.
“It has always been important to me to position Afrikaans as a conciliatory and a friendly language. Afrikaans is the language of the struggle, but also the language of reconciliation. It is a language that can bind people together provided we are willing to see each other's views and show respect for each other's unique past. Afrikaans survived wars, apartheid, colonialism and pandemics. Therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that the language will only grow stronger and stronger."
For more information on the Neville Alexander Prestige Awards and ATM, click here.