By Muyiwa Fadeyiye
The energies that most Africans exert in learning English- an Official Language and any other foreign ones should be same in learning our mother tongues. I mean our indigenous languages.
This is because, it would be the worst hypocrisy from us all, if after spitting all the foreign Vocabularies in the world, all in the name of being perceived as exposed and educated, and then to speak two lines of our mother tongues correctly becomes a Herculean task.
I have met many so called elites in this category, discouraging their wards from speaking their local languages by referring to them as vernacular. It’s such a shame!.
Why denying these kids the right to what we had simply because we want the world to see them in a particular way? And before we do that, we need to ask ourselves, “Does English or French man struggle to speak their languages?
Moreso, I have seen many on social media and other places trying to make those who prefer to communicate in their mother tongues to other foreign Languages, look uneducated and unrefined.
Listen, something is really amiss if you cannot fluently express yourself in your mother tongue yet fluently do so in other foreign languages. As a matter of fact, you should bury your head in shame for not being so proud of your roots. Because you would always be an inferior to other foreigners that you try so hard to be like. Your originality is your mother tongue! So own it with your full chest!
While I wouldn’t blame most people that are guilty of this so much, I would rather channel my blame at the society for allowing over-westernisation to creep into our social fabrics thereby becoming the only parameter to measure individual progress and exposure.
We must bear in mind that Africa had been the cradle of civilization since time immemorial. And ever before the invasion by foreign “invaders” we had brilliant and beautiful culture, traditions and customs that were the envy of other civilizations.
Take India for instance, India is another British colony like Nigeria yet never allow over-westernisation ruins their valued traditions and customs.
An average Indian speaks Hindi or Punjab without stress. Infact those two languages compete favourably with the supposed official languages they might have.
The most disheartening aspect of these for Africa is, the coming generations might never be able to communicate effectively in their mother tongues and if at all they will do, they might have to struggle with it.
A recent statistics in Nigeria has revealed that only 2 percent of Gen Z children can express themselves in their mother tongues.
This alone is a indication that, in no distant time, language extinction in Africa might just be a true reality as predicted by some researchers, if nothing is done to reverse the ugly trend.
This article is a wake call to all Africans. For us to wake up from the western mesmerization and stall the erosion of our cherished values as Africans.