Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Being black/African

I know and understand the need for each tribe and nation to keep its indigenous language/s. Should this, however, come at the cost of the inability to communicate with people from outside our tribes and nation?
Yes, in South Africa we have the right to express ourselves in our mother tongue, and to a certain extent, within one’s own province this is possible. But tell me, what then happens to the Xhosa speaking young boy who moves to Venda for university, and all his life he was taught to take “pride” in his language such that he saw no need for him to learn and perfect conversational English? What of the Peddie boy who has a dream to be a pilot and can only be taught in English when he reaches university? What happens to the Xhosa maid who comes across a European family looking for the skills she possesses and carries out with such grace?

I know a great many will bite my head off for saying this, but I am not apologetic for saying it. Yes, I know that there are white people from other countries that cannot speak English, I’ve heard that one too many times, it’s become so lame a reason that it is almost sickening. Until when will we use the white man as the standard of what is acceptable and what is not in society? I have heard so many “black and proud” friends say that it is okay for us to not know English because it is not our mother tongue, and that some Europeans also don’t know English. So what?
Have our minds become so stuck in our rebellion against what is in the past such that we use it to spite ourselves and our growth? Are we so limited in our view of the world spectrum that we do not make room for ourselves to ever exist outside the borders of South Africa where our indigenous language will render us shut out to possibilities? I ask.
Yes, let us take pride in who we are, but blackness is only a state of the mind, God created “them man and woman”, beyond that, whatever we choose to do, it is on us. Culture is something that we build, not something that we were born with, as black people, have we become so comfortable in our culture of trying to disprove the white man such that we would rather dig ourselves into a hole than take what he has? Just for interest’s sake, God created languages, not the white man, so learn as much as you can, it’s not a crime.
There is no reason for the girl in the rural areas to not know English just because she is “proudly Xhosa”. Do not worry about going extinct, we will not, and let us just accept that English IS the universal language and that we will gain nothing from fighting it, or will we? Educate me. In my view, the things that matter most and be preserved for our African culture, we have lost. We have become European in fundamental human issues and yet we guard and protect what needs no protection. What happened to Ubuntu, who is the ambassador of the preservation of our nature of living as a community, a family? While we chase after the wind, we are losing the nature of who we are, language is only a small part of it.
Yes I speak English with an accent, no it doesn’t say anything about my level of intellect, and most importantly, it is not to make myself feel white, I am not even trying to. It seems to me that in our efforts to prove (to I don’t know who) that we are proud to be black, we are costing ourselves better opportunities and the ability to rise above the victimisation of the past. I already said it, and I will not take any of it back.

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