By SHARON Atieno
I am usually very happy to hear people hold meetings and talk in their vernacular or just overhearing people along the university highways hold conversations in their native languages. This shows a sense of unity, belonging and africanism that goes beyond the colonial roots of education and the so called western civilization among comrades.
A professor once told his class, “When we lose our mother tongue, we lose the greatest treasure that we have as a people.” I tend to subscribe to the professor’s way of thinking. Our mother tongues are a sense of identity. The roots of a tree determine how strong and tall it stands. The deeper the roots the stronger it becomes. When we subscribe to our rich cultural languages, we have a stronger bearing in society.
I am usually perplexed when I hear people say that speaking one’s mother tongue makes one look primitive as it is a thing of the past. For their information, English is just a formal business language used for carrying out business and learning. English was imposed on us by the colonialists to help them communicate with us as they could not understand our indigenous languages. Why would you still want to be a slave several years after the colonialists are gone?
We should all strive to learn our languages and use them better than we operate our phones. In my opinion we I would rather we use Kiswahili in our conversations instead of enslaving ourselves with this foreign English language. This is simply because the little English you pride yourself with will never make you a white man. It doesn’t matter whatever you do or wherever you go, your skin will always remain dark.
As much as our indigenous language is concerned, this should not be used as a tool to make our language seem better than others. All languages have equal importance; none is greater or superior than the other. Having said that, it is good to note that we should take all languages seriously but keep in mind that charity starts at home. Without our indigenous languages we lack the very fragments that hold our society together. When we distance ourselves from our languages we start the process of bringing down our society.
This article is dedicated mostly to the ladies because majority of the men have already embraced this spirit of speaking in their mother tongues.