The Discriminatory Practice of Language Testing for Authenticating Citizenship: An Analysis of Operation Dudula Through a Forensic Linguistics Lens

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2023/v26i0a14692

Keywords:

Language tests, proficiency, citizenship, xenophobia, immigrants, Operation Dudula, Ryanair Airlines, forensic linguistics

Abstract

This article utilises both the theoretical and practical lenses located in the discipline of forensic linguistics to examine the practice of administering language tests to applicants for citizenship in South Africa, considering the prevailing policies and practices in an international context, and concludes that they should be avoided. In this interdisciplinary article I outline the South African constitutional and legislative provisions affecting language testing and language proficiency when applying for citizenship in multilingual South Africa. In this paper I discuss the linkages between language, citizenship, and xenophobia, building on the work by Brits, Kaschula and Docrat on the role of language in xenophobic attacks and protests. I argue that language tests for immigrants in the South African context perpetuate Apartheid-era thinking, policies and practices. This creates linguistic inequality and contributes to racial tensions and divisions in communities rather than creating social cohesion and equality for all. The article provides a case study of Operation Dudula, where language is being used to carry out xenophobic acts under the banner of citizenship. A brief comparison is drawn with Ryanair airlines' language tests for South African citizens.

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Author Biography

Zakeera Docrat, University of the Western Cape

BA BA Honours (cum laude) LLB MA (cum laude) PhD. National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of African Language Studies, University of the Western Cape.

References

Bibliography

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Case law

Khosa v Minister of Social Development 2004 6 SA 505 (CC)

Legislation

Australian Immigration Restriction Act, 1901

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Published

29-02-2024

How to Cite

Docrat, Z. (2024). The Discriminatory Practice of Language Testing for Authenticating Citizenship: An Analysis of Operation Dudula Through a Forensic Linguistics Lens. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 27, (Published on 29 February 2024) pp 1–27. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2023/v26i0a14692

Issue

Section

Special Edition: Language and Law

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