The National Heritage Day, its Meaning and Description

2013-09-19 00:39

Descartes started his revolutionary philosophy with a question. He questioned the basis of reality. How do we know what we know? He arrived at Cogito. He thinks! That he thinks suffices for him to explain his existence.

He thinks, and for him to think presupposes that he exists. He thinks, therefore he is. Cogito ergo sum.  (Latin: “I think, therefore I am”). This simply means your actions in daily practical life are the manifestation of your core being. The position you adopt in society shows the world your whether you appreciate yourself or you are having inferiority complex about your true self.

We are well into the month of September - which in South Africa signifies the month where we celebrate culture in particular African cultures. What is culture? What are we celebrating really on the 24th of September – Heritage Day? What is heritage?

September is also the month when the nation is commemorating the legacy of black consciousness as developed and shaped by Steve Biko.

Culture is conquered when the conqueror succeeds in imposing its own language and ways as the vehicle of relevance and elegance upon the conquered natives.

Liberation from these chains has proven to be almost impossible. This is because the conquest of a society's epistemology means a total control of its perceptual faculties, value system, and sources of psycho-social legitimacy and identity. In South Africa foreign conquest was total as it dealt the natives a deadly mortal wound, socially and psychologically.

You can see these how Black parents in South Africa are so jovial and happy that their children speak English with forced American accent while in the process derogating and ridiculing African accent.

I have conducted research - asking some Africans who speak with foreign accents why they do so. Some are saying that speaking English in an African accent is career limiting. Others indicate that it has become burdensome for them to speak with an African accent.  Some say "because it is cool" while others say "speaking with African accent seems as if you come from a squatter camp."

But what is the right thing to do? Be in denial of who you are?

Every nation and tongue has an accent across the world, and why you from Africa you are ashamed of or embarrassed with your distinctive accent. Americans and Europeans and everybody else, have accents, and they do not engage in tongue-twisting imitations of African accents or any other accents, apart from theirs, not even when they are in Africa!

In most cases these Africans are actually more Americans than the Americans themselves.

Some may say that accents are unimportant. So if they are unimportant why do you slave hard to change it?

The concern here or rather the question is why are Africans, so easy and happy to be something they are not? Conformists! Conformists! Conformists! Conformists with other people’s accents, intonations and cultures?

The “fear” of being identified with an accent, with your consciousness has turned a lot of people into some sort of lingo nerds. They slave hard trying to sound like “them”. In essence your accent, your communication should tell the listener something about where you were born, bred or lived.

Speaking English in a different accent is not relative only to Swedes; Afrikaners, the Chinese or the Australians, etc, but to everyone including Africans. We may all speak the English language, but the accent is a major way of knowing the American from British or African.  Consider Richard Quest and Piers Morgan major anchors in CNN; even when they are now appealing to American audience they still speak with their heavy British accent. And they are proud to shout "of course I am British!" when Americans comment on their accent.

Equally, Fareed Zakaria, an Indian America who spent most of his adult life in America still speaks English with a heavy Indian accent.

There might be people from different nations who adopt forced accent – but the statistics are the highest within Africans.

Speaking with a different accent is paranoia that envelopes your consciousness. It is bizarre as the word bizarre. The biggest mistake about you starts the very second you start wishing you were someone else. You cannot speak with a foreign accent and still remain true to your sense of your identity and heritage at the deeper subconscious level,

Steve Biko, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were all killed for struggling to emancipate Africans from psychological and social chains of inferiority in society. In fact Malcolm X coined the phrase "house negro". A house negro is black person that do his best to please white people even if it means disowning their own self.

"There were two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. Malcolm X

Heritage Day means that you should not lose sense of self identity, have pride, confidence and dignity about your history and heritage, and that includes your accents, tones and other  wonderful attributes and qualities. Heritage Day is you as a distinct original self.


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