South African Indians are demanding that Indian languages be recognised as official second language subjects in schools, rather than Afrikaans which many describe as “the language of the oppressor.”

The issue emerged after a school principal, Vishnu Naidoo, made a strong statement to the Weekly Extra that Afrikaans was “the language of the oppressor” and had no relevance to Indian pupils in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where about 1.4 million Indians reside.

Mr. Naidoo said he would lead protests if the Education Ministry did not accede to his request to recognise languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati and Telugu as official second language subjects.

Currently only English, Afrikaans, and nine indigenous African languages are recognised as second language and Indian languages are referred to as community languages in the South African Constitution.

Reacting to Mr. Naidoo’s plea, Education Ministry director Duncan Hindle said the Indian languages were not a viable second language option because they were not recognised by the Constitution.