“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.”-Bob Marley
I have noticed one thing among my people. When I say my people I am referring to us ‘Black’ people, ‘darkies’ in other words. I have come across many instances where if you are brilliant in speaking English you are seen as an intellectual. If you introduce or utilise bombastic words in your speech or conversation than you are a genius, Albert Einstein I tell you. I personally do not know where this notion or ideology comes from.
Who woke up one day amongst us and decided that speaking English shall be the new measure of a black man’s intelligence. I get so annoyed when a fellow black is addressing us in English and they tend not to be that good and the audience laughs. On the other hand if a White or Asian person was to address the very same audience in any of our native languages and that White or Asian person is not that good; you will find that very same audience saying “at least he tried”.
Hello I am ‘umZulu’ I also tried addressing you in a foreign language.
We need to do away with this glamorization of the oppressor’s language. This is just one of the many psychological effects of the Apartheid system. I reckon if we were to be thought in our native languages we would see the value of our native languages and perform better academically. I have been a victim of not comprehending a question during an exam after all English is a foreign language to me.
The South African government needs to rethink the education system and try to introduce native languages as a medium of instruction for subjects at school. I personally think English should be the additional language not vice versa. If the government keeps shutting our languages out soon we won’t have native languages. I know that last statement sounds absurd but have you noticed how westernized we as South Africans have become.
Here’s another example of self hate amongst us, in soccer the fans rejoice if the player is not fluent in English and his a black South African; but if a Spanish Coach or French Coach here in the South African soccer league (PSL) speaks ‘broken’ English we are so understanding.
I know right now you are referring to me as a hypocrite for writing this essay in English. Please remember I want to reach a vast and diverse audience therefore I could not write in my native language (isiZulu). In closure, we must never forget the words of Steve Biko when he said “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior.” We need to free our minds and begin to love every part of our blackness and stop looking down upon one another.