By Pierre Potgieter
Pic by Pierre Potgieter
Two Rhodes students have decided to teach Arabic, free of charge, to all Rhodes students who would like to learn the language. Lessons are given twice a week by Amina Ebrahim, a Commerce student, and her husband Bilal Randeree, who is doing his post-graduate year in Journalism.
Both Ebrahim and Randeree were born in South Africa and have spent time traveling to Palestine and Syria among other countries, where they were able to put their language skills into practice. Emphasis is placed on conversation in the language, more than on the grammar and literature. Randeree explained that, “speaking a language gives you confidence,” and knowing the details of the grammar is not that useful when you need to communicate verbally in a language.
Their course has been running for two months and they are still willing to receive interested students. “The classes are continuously growing with new students pitching up at every lesson,” explained Randeree.The aim of the course is to equip the students with basic communication skills that will enable them to communicate and help themselves comfortably in the language. The course is taught from the level one instruction book from the Institute of Arabic Studies for non-speaking Arabic students, which teaches a modern, standard form of Arabic which is widely understood among Arabic speakers.
Ebrahim and Randeree decided to teach the language so that they could practice it themselves. “The students come with their own personal reasons to study it,” says Randeree. Other reasons for the couple teaching are a link to their religion and Randeree’s acknowledgment of Arabic as a useful tool in the job market.
Arabic is spoken by roughly 206 million people as a first language and another 250 million as a second language, with most of its native speakers in North African and Asian countries.
With many economists observing that the markets are currently shifting from the West to the East, this makes it an even better reason to learn a language like Arabic. Those interested in learning the language can contact Amina Ebrahim at email@example.com or Bilal Randeree at firstname.lastname@example.org.