Thursday, 24 November 2011

Language Please!

Put your hands up and do a jiggle if your children know how to speak your indigenous language. To the others go to the naughty corner, raise your hands up and pray for God to have mercy on your soul. OK, maybe that is a bit too severe. Let’s get real with ourselves though, by the third generation from our children, our languages would have disappeared from our family lineage. Do you know what beautiful stories, adages, folklore and culture can be passed down through languages?

What is so alarming is that even back in our home countries some parents don’t talk to their children in the native language, what???? Is this a status thing now, that your children should be blowing only  English grammar like a trumpet? It is disgraceful, (I am talking to myself too as I m guilty of this traditional deprivation towards my babies but I am rectifying it and my children are making good progress.) Take pride in your heritage, our language is what makes us disparate and unique, we should unashamedly take pride in the one thing nobody can take away from us...
Have you seen the Chinese, Spanish, Indians, how they rap with their children with pride in their respective languages. Do you know it has been proven that if a child is taught in their indigenous language, they activate the part of the brain that makes them clever (without getting too technical)  and they do well in other languages as well. Wake up people! Nobody is selling this ignorance to us; we are the ones buying this crap ourselves. Do you know the pleasure I take in being able to trade secrets with my daughter in public when I want no one to understand what we are saying, one of the many perks.
Forgive me for being so harsh, it is out of love and the wish to preserve the beautiful things we have in our culture. Some of us are so readily open to take on other trends ( I call it trend because they are so transient that I can’t call it culture) we imitate the way the white man speak, we like to dress the way they do and in our taking we have taken some disgusting stuff as well and forgotten where we came from. I am not saying we should be parochial and not open ourselves to new things but let’s embrace what is ours first, It’s not too late, speak it to them, teach them, sing to them in your language. Eventually when they go back home, they will not use their left hand to give directions to their home and no one will be able to sell them BS. Keep the cord strong, the flag flying; teach your children your indigenous language, you will be amazed on how quickly they will pick it up and how interested they are in learning it. Don’t leave it till it’s too late
This is my thought provoking rant for today, I leave to rant another day

 Please leave a comment...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I know you! Do you know me?

 I remember my first day at work in Canary Wharf, I was in awe at the fast paced atmosphere  of the place, even the air felt rushed , the expensive suits, the tall buildings, the decadent gourmet shops. The smell of coffee and power perfumed the air, with the proverbial noses stuck up there too.  At first, I could not curtail my exhilaration, I felt like shouting ‘can you handle the truth’ (as in Tom Cruise wannabe in ‘A few Good Men’). I had been let loose and I wanted to leap over walls but after two weeks of not making a single friend and being shunned and scorned by  the  sparse people around me who I can call my own, quickly my elation turned into whimper of emotions. I felt lost and alone.
  For the first time in a long time I felt invisible, every one scurried along like the world was about to end, I heard animated conversation between two people on my left and they were talking about graphs and paragraphs, Huh? I looked down at my own work outfit with disdain, the pride I took that morning in wearing my slim fitting blue guinea brocade shirt tapered on the sleeves and collar with green Ankara was fading fast. I sat down on the benches in the indoor shopping mall feeling sorry for myself. I looked up and the glimmer of hope showed itself in another African sister coming my way, to me she looked like an angel, I was sure I could strike up a conversation with her. She was dressed to perfection, ‘looking tight’. I stood up and said hello, if looks could kill, I would be dead by now.
 So why do we not like to acknowledge one another? Do you know how you make me feel when I meet you in the lift and you turn your face away, when I say hello and you don’t answer. Do you know how you demean our  race when you will only talk to me when no one is around, why is it that it is from you that I get the most hard time from, when you should be my Iroko tree..  We have been through a lot you and I, don't you know! you are my solace. When I see you I am happy,. Why are you not happy to see me succeed like you, surely our struggles should not be in vain? Yes! You might have been burned before but we have got to come together and change the way we see one another. It starts with you and me. No one will respect us when we are not strong together, you are part of me and I you. I know you,  do you know me? Please say YES
This is my soul searching rant for today, I live to rant another day

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Like A Peacock

Like a peacock, let us strut our culture, our heritage with pride. 
 "African clothing is the traditional clothing, often vibrantly coloured, worn by the indigenous peoples of Africa. In some instances these traditional garments have been replaced by western clothing introduced by European colonialists.” (whyyyyyyyyyyyy I scream.) Let us take a cue from the Asian culture and wear our Ankara, Guinea Brocade, Lace, Kente, Adire etc to work, to play, to church, to parties, let us splash it all over our houses with pride, for curtains, our cushions, bed sheets because they are beautiful and gorgeous. No one will put Africa on the map except us, the media often paint us in a negative light and this is one area we can stand together, one step at a time I say.  Let us start by embracing what we can truly call our own, let’s express ourselves through our clothing. I wear my African clothing to work with a modern twist; I sew my work shirts with Ankara, complete with cufflinks and embroidery. I dare to be bold and people compliment me all day. Why has curry become a phenomenon now in UK. I will tell you why because the Asians value their culture and they have spread it as the wind carry seeds. Let me ask you a question, when you see an Asian person in his/her traditional attire, do you blink or think it odd, NO! we are so use to seeing them in their beautiful array of clothing that we have subconsciously accepted it, why can’t we Africans do and be the same.

This is my beautiful rant for today, I live to rant another day