Original Research

A blatant disregard of Section 6 (1) of the Constitution of South Africa by higher education institutions and language authorities: An onomastic discrepancy

Tebogo J. Rakgogo, Evangeline B. Zungu
Literator | Vol 43, No 1 | a1814 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v43i1.1814 | © 2022 Tebogo J. Rakgogo, Evangeline B. Zungu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2021 | Published: 28 February 2022

About the author(s)

Tebogo J. Rakgogo, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Evangeline B. Zungu, Department of African Languages, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


The primary focus of this article is the onomastic discrepancies that are considered a blatant disregard of Section 6 (1) of the Constitution of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996). The article employs a qualitative research approach where text analysis is used, focusing on constitutional documentation, legislative frameworks on language-related matters and higher education policy documentations, as well as language policy documentation from the selected 10 South African universities that offered Sepedi as a first language or conversational module. It is found that there is a constitutional disregard by competent organisations such as universities, financial institutions, Google and language authorities (such as Pan South African Language Board, Sesotho sa Leboa National Language Body and Sesotho sa Leboa National Lexicography Unit), since most of the policies are inconsistent with Section 6 (1) of the South African Constitution, 1996. In summary, the article records that the policies supersede the Constitution, since the language name ‘Northern Sotho/Sesotho sa Leboa’ is the most used name to refer to the official standard language rather than its counterpart, Sepedi.


onomastic discrepancy; sociolinguistics; language planning; dialect; official standard language; Constitution; higher education institutions and policy deviation


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