Letters

Debate in your own tongue, if at all

Letters

In SA parties are elected, not individuals. Why, then, do we have the insistent hype about a debate between President Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille?

For a quality debate, parties should give us their best debaters and each must debate in a language of their choice, as is their right. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

? To mimic the United States? It is the ANC and not the president that has a pact with the electorate. Change the electoral system if you want to foreground individuals ("<a href="http://mg.co.za/article/2012-10-19-00-ten-things-about-presidential-debates" target="_blank">10 things about presidential debates</a>", October 19).

For a quality debate, parties should give us their best debaters and each must debate in a language of their choice, as is their right.

The assumption is that a debate between Zuma and Zille would be in English. But it is oppressive to impose a single language out of a possible 11. If you took away the linguistic advantage and thus levelled the playing fields, the strident calls for a debate might not be so strong.

Language can make a fool look smart and a smart person look foolish. The moment you speak English, you bow and kowtow to the master and to the values and world view embedded in the language.

I am not against any particular language, but I do become concerned when language becomes an agent of disempowerment. &ndash; Dr Masitha Hoeane, Pretoria East

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