Language constitutes an essential part of globalization and democracy. Although different dimensions of globalization are overlapping, this study mainly focuses on the cultural and political dimensions of global trends influencing education in a South African context. These external forces will always foster local responses, but it is important that educators acknowledge the power in these trends and their implications for shaping and constraining the choices available to educational policies and practices.
Schools are important institutions in a democratic and multilingual society because they both mirror the wider society and act as a role model; hence practices in the South African educational sector are the centre of attention in this study. This study attempt to show how democracy requires participation of its citizens and in this regard why linguistic issues are of vital importance. The relationship between democracy and multilingualism can be analyzed by both micro and macro dimensions. Individual linguistic competence is of significance in order to participate as a democratic citizen. On the other hand, there exist certain characteristics of a nation-state in order to be labelled a democratic society. One of these, I argue, is to adapt for linguistic diversity. This is both in line with the democratic ideal of securing the rights and interests of both the majority and minority. In addition this is essential in order to create a sense of community or belonging in the people living within the borders of a nation-state. South Africa has an explicit goal of promoting multilingualism which is assessed as one characteristic of being a citizen in this new democracy.