Culture, Language, Diversity: Questions and Answers in South Africa and Indonesia

By Monica Clare van der Haagen-Wulff and Stefan Karduck.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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This paper will briefly introduce South Africa’s and Indonesia’s geographical, economic, political, demographic, and linguistic histories. Considering the background of cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity, both countries have had to deal with questions of managing diversity and unity in the process of becoming sovereign states. They have inherited colonial or settler inspired national boarders unifying distinct ethnic groups and accompanying regional languages within one national geographic boarder. We will trace the development of Indonesia’s and South Africa’s official national strategies to deal with cultural diversity not as a band-aid measure, but rather as a positive resource to foster coexistence and unity. The paper examines the successes and failures of these national strategies against the backdrop of immense diversity, with 11 official languages and barely a sign of homogeneous culture in South Africa, and more than 300 ethnic groups and over 700 living regional languages in Indonesia.

Keywords: Diversity, Unity, Coexistence, Postcolonialism, Language, Culture

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp.23-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 594.500KB).

Dr. Monica Clare van der Haagen-Wulff

Lecturing Staff, Chair of Sociology of Education and Culture, Institute for Comparative Educational Research and Social Science, University of Cologne, Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Dr. Monica van der Haagen Wulff is a lecturer at the University of Cologne, Germany. She completed her BA hons. Degree at the University of Sydney, majoring in Indonesian/Malaysian Studies. Her research on traditional Cirebonese mask dancing involved living in Indonesia over a period of 5 years. She completed her doctorate of Creative Arts (DCA) at the University of Technology, Sydney, focusing on performance, gender, and the Dutch colonial history. Her research interests are postcolonialism, migration, globalization, gender, racism, fictocritical writing, performance and cultural studies.

Dr Stefan Karduck

Professor, Chair for Sociology of Education and Culture, Institute for Comparative Educational Research and Social Science, University of Cologne, Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Dr. Stefan Karduck teaches and researches at the University of Cologne, Germany. He studied social science and completes a Ph.D. thesis on the development of statistical methods of analysis. He gives lessons on sociology of developing countries, methods of social research and theory of social systems. His research focus is on teaching evaluation and on project evaluation in developing countries. He has been on several long term research trips to South Africa and has taught at the University of Western Cape.