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Many things are attached to identity, and some more neon than others, but language is the cherry loop in a fruit bowl. At most, society has dug us into the embodiment of being so westernised we have devalued even the languages that we suckled from our mothers’ breasts. We grow up spending every learning moment trying to soak out our identity and reinforce that which isn’t ours. In other words, it appears we have mistaken learning and becoming versatile with ‘unbecoming’. Must we lose self amid glorifying one thing? I have considered many factors and perhaps we are not in touch with our roots. Or we hate where we come from as a result of how our culture and skin have been, through and through, portrayed as lesser than?


We have grown out of touch with the soil that tugged at out bodies on sunny days because someone stood before the world, and said this place you wear even on your head is a reflection of poverty. Yes; we have seen and heard it all, how the rest of the world views Africa – the one stop to poverty and high crime statistics. Many things have led to the idea that the structure of our academic syllabus is rooted in the self-hate of our identity, so young boys and girls grow up searching for as much representation of the western life, and turn their eye from that which is a representation of them. Frankly, I remember from as young as eight years old how we were confined in classes, put together between four walls in history lessons to be taught about how mighty the European countries are.


How intelligent and smart they were, as they colonised every part of the continent. This was only the beginning. A seed was planted, one that speaks of how more intelligent the western are, that they are better and know better – while our African leaders were simply painted as the men who sold our land for a mirror. Observing the millennials when it comes to our language is like watching a horror movie. The most shocking thing is we have successfully raised a generation that is out of touch with who they are. We, yes, we - have successfully made who we are a far-fetched ‘idea’ that no one should grow to be. That is to say, we have made it inappropriate to be who we truly are. We refused to embrace the beauty of what it means to wear your culture proudly, to boldly speak your siSwati and speak it fluently.

It has come to my attention that a majority of parents measure the level of a school based on the manner in which English is spoken by the pupils that have schooled there, and not on the quality of the education and investment of a child’s learning and understanding needs. This is a cause for concern, an indication that we are headed for disaster and like the saying, ‘it is the small things that lead to big results’, we are bound to reap what we have sown as a society.


The truth of the matter is that our language is a part of our identity, one we should invest in. one which we should pour into our children as much – or even more – as we do the western languages. It is one of the few things that set us apart, that remained after colonial times and most definitely one that must be reserved and respected. Learnt and spoken fluently and with confidence, because we have the responsibility to protect that which we have, to see that it does not become simply a story of what used to be our heritage in history books.

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