It's not far-fetched to suspect that the common understanding of the idea of "mother tongues" in South Africa is coloured by outside influences.
Africa needs a new strategy for mother-tongue based bilingual education, from primary through to tertiary level.
Policies must seek to improve the manner in which the language of instruction is taught to learners who don't speak that language at home.
Textbooks in sufficient quantities are effective in improving the quality of education but in Africa language poses a problem to how pupils interact with the material they are taught.
Over the years, our understanding of how language and learning are linked has shifted and changed. There is ample evidence about the value of mother-tongue-based multilingual education.
Learning is an independent activity at university. Students who don't speak English as a mother tongue struggle to decode the content, let alone make sense of it.
Schools and universities in post-colonial contexts still operate within the logic of coloniality. This is starkly illustrated by their language policies.
There are many layers of complexity at play in the way that South African schools use and teach languages.