Dutch-language mistakes found on newly unveiled plaque for Congolese independence

Dutch-language mistakes found on newly unveiled plaque for Congolese independence
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A plaque commemorating the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence from Belgium will be replaced days after it was unveiled in Brussels because of spelling mistakes in Dutch.

Placed in Ixelles' town hall on Tuesday, the plaque is written in French and Dutch and has excerpts of a Congolese independence song written in the Bantu language Lingala.

In the Dutch version, the word for 'mayor' is misspelt and there are several grammatical errors, including in the phrases 'the 60th anniversary' and 'of independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo.'

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The cabinet of Ixelles Mayor Christos Doulkeridis apologised for the mistakes on the plaque, saying it was not the final version.

"There seems to be some controversy about some errors in the Dutch version of the commemorative plaque," the cabinet said in a press release. "We regret this situation."

The plaque was inaugurated Tuesday by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès and by Doulkeridis, in an event celebrating 60 years of independence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Responding to the news, Theo Francken of the Flemish nationalist Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), said the mistakes warranted a "public apology to the Flemish people."

Ixelles spokesperson Sandra Splouchal said that the mistakes happened because the plaque in question was temporary and because it was finished hastily since the final one was not ready for the event on Tuesday.

"This is a temporary plaque, the final one will be much more beautiful, in colour... and, above all, without mistakes," Splouchal told De Standaard.

The final and corrected memorial plaque will be put up on Friday, the municipality said, adding: "We apologise to those who have interpreted these mistakes as a form of disrespect, which is absolutely and obviously not the case."

On Twitter, one user also pointed out that, on top of the mistakes in Dutch, there were also language mistakes on the Lingala excerpts featured on the plaque.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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