ABSTRACT

The fourth chapter carves out some of the complexities in the processes of marginalization and racial discrimination the English lingua franca space has created. At the same time, and in line with the theme of ambiguity, it also portrays how both the embracing and the defiance of the lingua franca status of English can be used for empowerment in specific contexts. It initially focuses on how racial and raciolinguistic ideologies of Englishes are intertwined with racism towards black South Africans and it shows the limits of language against the power of race. Focusing on domains of ambiguities rather than domains of language usage, the discussion takes place across contexts and settings. It illustrates how South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma defied the lingua franca status of English in his rape trial to evoke ethnolinguistic identity politics and by strategically mobilizing isiZulu as a cultural weapon to fight the English Eurocentric dominance of the court system. Lastly, this chapter turns to the Afrikaner community in which some members have embraced marginalization rhetoric by constructing what has been termed ‘subaltern whiteness’ by pitching the coloniality of English against alleged Afrikaner indigeneity.