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By Hilary Janks

Turning to literacy -- Orientations to literacy -- Language and tool -- studying texts seriously -- range, distinction and disparity -- entry, gate-keeping and wish -- serious textual content construction: writing and layout -- redecorate, social motion and probabilities for transformation -- the way forward for severe literacy

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3% of the population, is derived from Dutch. From Turning to Literacy • 11 1925 until the advent of democracy in 1994, English and Afrikaans were the official languages of the country. After the Nationalist Party came to power in 1948, Afrikaans came to be seen as the language of apartheid and oppression. English was preferred as a lingua franca and the right to choose English rather than Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools became part of the freedom struggle. 7 Many black South Africans speak more than one African language, especially in the urban areas.

I began to wonder if I had ever understood English. (Mntambo, Interview, 1998) Like Wayne, and Lilly-Rose (Chapter 1), she feels the need to hide her ‘inabilities’: For a long time I could not even write the two-page responses that she [the lecturer] required us to do because I felt all my stupidity would be there for all to see. At least if I did not respond to questions in class nobody would know how ‘dumb’ I felt. (Mntambo, Interview, 1998) Both of these students, mature professionals in their own right, found this struggle painful because of how it made them feel about themselves and their abilities.

Nomowabo, it should be noted, speaks four languages, is currently learning Sesotho, and is in addition a successful teacher educator. Wayne in the concluding entry to his academic log explains it thus: As I look back along this academic journey I have certainly learnt a lot. Perhaps the most important thing that I have learnt is that I am dyslexic. When I say that this is important it is because I have learnt that it is a characteristic of a Wayne and not the defining aspect of a Wayne. As I have learnt that this is just a part of a multifaceted person who is not one stable body but is made up of different parts in different discourses.

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