English Speaking Children And Our Responsibilities As Africans

It seems as though we are the first generation of Africans, in South Africa, to fail to pass on the baton to our children. Our kids don’t know their culture, don’t know their history, they have a bad attitude towards being African, hate their hair, hate their skin colour, and above all else, many of them speak English exclusively, don’t know one African language. All this under our guide? Our parents and grandparents must be turning in their graves.

The reason why we should hang our heads in shame for the current disposition is that it truly is our responsibility to pass on what was passed on to us, by our parents. Secondly, our parents did all of this under extremely oppressive circumstances, it should be easier for us now that we are in government and we no longer have “THE MAN” to blame for trying to turn our children into little wanna-be whites. We are doing it to ourselves and to our children.

We are the ones who decide that our children should speak English, and not Setswana, SiSwati, isiZulu, siNdebele, Tshivenda and so forth. We are the ones who spend thousands of rands on our teenage girls buying them expensive weaves from some dead people’s heads in Latin America and the far east. We are the ones who have moved away from our African ways, and when our children turn to being these strange creatures that even we do not understand, we act as though it is a shock and surprise. We have abandoned our way of life, we have adopted foreign cultures and embraced everyone else’s way of doing things but our own…

The first thing we need to do is to go back to the basics, teach our children at least one African language in addition to their own. Adopt an African language as the second official language for every province. For example, in the Eastern Cape, English and IsiXhosa should be the two official languages, Free State should have English and Sesotho sa Moshoeshoe as the two official languages, KZN should have isiZulu and English, Cape Town should have three, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English, and Mpumalanga and Limpopo should do likewise, IsiNdebele, SiSwati and English for Mpumalanga, Tsonga, Venda, Pedi and English for Limpopo.

Then we have to go back into our homes and make sure that we speak in our mother tongues when we speak to our children. Do not listen to teachers who tell you that your children should speak English in the home so that they can pick up quicker, that is just a fallacy, children learn better when they can also converse fluently in their mother-tongue…

About The Author


Born in Orlando West, Soweto, South African, Duma ka Ndlovu is a filmmaker, poet, playwright, journalist, and TV producer. He was professor of African history and African-American literature at New York's Stoneybrook University in the eighties and between 1996 and 2004 he was chairman of the SA Music Awards (SAMA).

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One Response

  1. Prudence

    Let us maintain our Language and Culture for the future of our children.Our language and culture makes us unique people.You are so right we are the ones who have to teach our children.Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.


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