There currently exists a noticeable tension in South Africa between the political aim of one homogeneous South African nation on the one hand and the autonomy each language deserves in practice according to the constitution on the other. The real development of individual languages and the purposeful cultivation of language pride necessarily accentuate races and ethnical differences, which are contrary to the ideal of nation-building. Consequently, languages are subtly denied acknowledged constitutional rights in practice, which will impact negatively on the development of especially the African languages into technical and academic languages in their own right. The question thus arises whether it is sensible for the terminographer to develop scientific and technical terms for the African languages, while everything at this stage indicates that these terms will hardly, if ever, be used by subject specialists.
Keywords: terminology, african languages, language attitudes, medium of instruction, language-teaching, linguistic awareness, language planning, language policy, multilingualism, nation-building, constitutional rights, harmonization, standard language, standard sotho, standard nguni, language boards, language academies, ethnicity, monolingual schools, radio services