“Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.”-Trevor Noah
One of my mother’s friends came to visit their family recently. When my mother notified me that her friend and her sons were going to visit us I was excited. But my joy was short-lived, silly me dreaded speaking in English for the whole. What if I exhausted my English bundles🤣🤣?
To my surprise when Aunt Sally and her sons got to our house they greeted us in Shona. I thought the greeting was staged but it wasn’t, Aunty Sally’s kids Tongai and Taropafadzwa only used a few English words during their visit.
I was curious to know how Tongai and his brother were able to speak Shona fluently when Tongai left Zimbabwe when he could barely talk and Taropafadzwa was born in the Diaspora. Their response was what intrigued me, in Aunt Sally and Uncle Ben’s house they don’t speak in English but rather in their native language. Their parents do not want their children to forget about their identity. I have met a lot of children who grew up in the Diaspora and are unable to speak their language and some cases, they are unable to pronounce their names properly.
Taropafadzwa and Tongai are proud to be African and they embrace their totem. The boys do not refer to their father as Baba or as Nyathi (buffalo totem).
The boys also looked forward to travelling to their rural home and meeting their grandparents.
On the other hand, some children who live in Africa are unable to pronounce their native names properly. The children are unable to communicate in their native languages and are often teased or people can gossip about them.
Parents have the power to choose whether they want to teach their children about their traditions, culture or language.