My Mother’s Tongue

Why do we hate ourselves so much that we would abandon our mother’s tongue for somebody else’s mother’s tongue?
(some chick called Elizabeth who is in possession of our Kimberly Diamond, to be specific)

ENGLISH- What a political journey the ENGLISH language has been in South Africa. Knowing English seemingly is the benchmark for ‘excellence.’

When people want to appear smart, they bring out the big English words. Sadly, the opposite of that also happens, when people cannot articulate themselves in English then the assumption is that they are illiterate or ignorant/stupid.

Why has English been put on such a pedestal and why is my mother’s tongue not ‘stepping up?’ Why nami ndingavele ndidele ngesiXhosa sam and let my mother’s tongue take her place in this ‘global market.’

Here we are laughing and giggling about misspelling, mispronouncing, misusing the foreigner’s language. Yet we don’t hold the foreigner up to the same standards when it comes to our languages.

We don’t consider the sheer display of brilliance by African people, speaking mothers and foreign mother’s tongues so fluently.

We spend so much time and energy on developing how we speak English, how about we spend that much energy on developing our own languages.

The time has come for Africans to stop being ashamed of being African and to embrace their indigenous languages.

And let’s stop being so damn serious, when a mistake is made in ANY language, it is most likely to make a few people giggle. If I, as a Xhosa woman say something in Sesotho and it comes out wrong and its sound funny……we laugh. When this happens with the English language please stop getting defensive and idolising English…..lets laugh.
English is not a measure of intelligence.

While we sit here and make English our priority…….the other leading nations of the global economy are teaching their children in their OWN mother’s tongue.
…..while we sit here on 30% pass rate and perfect our twangs…..

What does this concept of freedom mean when we are still in western chains?
When is it ok to celebrate the freedom to be African? Are we not aware that when we kill our languages, we kill ourselves?

There is so much wealth and knowledge stored in our proverbs and the manner in which we construct our sentences. Our languages have so much depth and meaning……I don’t understand why we have abandoned them.

Had this piece been written in my mother tongue is would have been so much more powerful….but here I sit……brainwashed and hijacked of my own depth and identity.


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