Afrikaans, Afrikaner population expected to boom

File: Premature remains the leading cause of death in children under the age of five.

File: Premature remains the leading cause of death in children under the age of five.

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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking community is expected to grow to more than 7-million people by the year according to findings by the Solidarity Movement.

This number includes both white and coloured Afrikaans-speaking people who are both registering a sharp incline in the number of babies born, and is almost 300,000 more than in the 2011 census.

According to Solidarity, the findings of their demographics research indicate that the exodus of white Afrikaans-speaking people to other countries is less than anticipated with many people seemingly returning home.

According to Connie Mulder, head of the Solidarity Research Institute, the overall conclusion of their research is that the number of Afrikaans-speaking people in South Africa in general, and of white Afrikaans-speaking people specifically, is increasing.

“In 12 years' time South Africa will be home to more than 7 million Afrikaners and Afrikaans-speaking people,” says Mulder.

“The Afrikaner population is going to increase slightly in absolute numbers to about 2,7 million and then slowly level out. This is still more people than the entire populations of respectively Namibia, Botswana, and even Hawaii.”

The research combined data from the last national census, birth registrations, death certificates, and immigration data, amongst others.

According to Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive of Solidarity, the research will help inform them of the need to plan community services and Afrikaans-medium schools that will be needed by the Afrikaans-speaking community.

The Afrikaans baby-boom, for example, points to an increased need for Afrikaans pre-primary schools, which will lead to an increased demand for Afrikaans schooling opportunities between 2020 and 2030, and an increased need for Afrikaans tertiary education opportunities beyond the year 2030.

According to Hermann: “The findings surprised us. The numbers don't point to a community that is disintegrating, but to one that will survive. Afrikaners and Afrikaans are here to stay.”