Ton Vosloo and Anet Pienaar-Vosloo, a couple with close ties to Stellenbosch University (SU), announced that from 2020 they will be sponsoring the Ton and Anet Vosloo Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SU for five years.
In addition to the Chair, funds are made available for bursaries for deserving students studying Afrikaans at postgraduate level at SU.
According to the Vosloo couple, the Chair is aimed at further developing Afrikaans as an important instrument in the service of the entire South African community.
Until 2015, Vosloo was in the industry for 59 years as a journalist, editor, CEO and chairperson of Naspers, and for the past three years, professor of journalism at SU. Pienaar-Vosloo, also a former journalist, is filming the third television series Mooi for the VIA TV channel. She is a Matie who studied fine art, and is well known for her role as co-founder and director of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Aardklop and various other festivals across the country. She is also the first female chair of the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.
Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, says the donation not only helps in maintaining Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, but also in promoting Afrikaans as a science and career language in a multilingual community. "As far as we know this is the first and only sponsored Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at any university," he adds.
Prof Ilse Feinauer of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch in SU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been appointed incumbent of this Chair. She has been teaching at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch since 1982, and since 1996 has been involved in the postgraduate programme in translation, which has been expanded under her guidance from a postgraduate diploma in translation to a PhD in translation. She chaired the Department from 2005 to the end of 2008 and held the position of Vice Dean: Research of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 2015 to 2018. In 2013, Feinauer became the first woman to be promoted to professor of Afrikaans linguistics at SU, and in 2014, the Taiyuan University of Technology in Taiyuan, Shanxi (China), awarded her an honorary professorship in their Faculty of International Language and Culture.
“It is an incredible honour and privilege for me to be able to hold this Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice. All credit goes to Prof Wim de Villiers for laying the groundwork to make this Chair a reality in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch."
According to Prof Feinauer, bursaries have already been awarded to four honours students, three master's students, two PhD students and one postdoctoral fellowship in Afrikaans and Dutch for 2020. “This Chair provides the Department with the opportunity to empower postgraduate students in particular to do research in and about Afrikaans in order to pursue a professional career after completing their studies in and through Afrikaans," she added.
When Ton Vosloo was asked why he and his wife came forward with the support of Afrikaans, he replied: “In my memoirs Across Boundaries: A life in the media in a time of change, published last year, I wrote a chapter entitled, 'Afrikaans in decline'. I made the point in the chapter that I hope gracious individuals would come forward who were concerned with the A to Z of Afrikaans.
“Anet and I have the grace that we can help. Afrikaans, as Jan Rabie put it, is our oxygen. Now is the time to step in further to develop this incredible source of knowledge for the sake of our nation's future. "
The Vosloos have been esteemed SU donors for some time.