13 Year Old Sikh Student Masters Language Afrikaans and Wins National Accolade in South Africa

While most Indian-South African students shy away from Afrikaans, 13-year-old Angad Sena’s mastery over the language has won him national accolades in just two years since he arrived from India.
When Angad arrived in Pretoria in 2011 with his father Tejinder and teacher mother Amarjeet, he opted for Afrikaans, rather than Zulu, as a second compulsory language at Theresa Park Primary School.

His father was on a three-year contract, working as an engineer for a Tata company.

“With Zulu, I was quite confused when we were shown the options I had, so the same day I told my dad that I would do Afrikaans and make a success of it, even though I only first learnt it in my last year at primary school,” Sena said.

“I did a lot of reading after learning the basics, which helped me a lot,” he said.

Afrikaans came easily to Angad, who speaks English, Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi. In 2012, after having studied the language for just two years, he came first in a national contest for public speaking titled “Radikale Redenaars” (Radical Debaters).

This year, he entered again and came second at national level after speaking about his own success in mastering Afrikaans.

“There was a girl who beat me because she was in an Afrikaans school from the start,” he said.

Proudly wearing his Sikh turban, Angad said it was not difficult being the only boy in his school doing so.

“When it’s someone new, they ask questions because they are curious about it and it gives me the opportunity to educate them about my culture, religion and language,” he said.

Speaking Afrikaans without an accent that would give away his Indian roots, Angad said he would recommend the language to others, even if they start learning it late.

He said that if Afrikaans is offered anywhere in India, he would definitely want to study the language further. Like his father, Angad plans to become a mechanical engineer.

The family will return to India in December.

“We will miss Angad next year. He is definitely one of my best students,” said Mariska van Vuuren, his class teacher.

Afrikaans, developed from Dutch, is largely seen as the language of the white minority that enforced it as a compulsory language in all-black schools across South Africa during the apartheid era.

Source PTI Originally Published by PTI

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