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If we don’t know, we’ll never belong

The 15 things that white people should know about black people  is one of the funniest, most valid articles I’ve read in a while.

Would that all cross cultural education be this erudite. The points the author, Lerato Tshabalala, has made are incredibly valid.

Except for the one about Mandoza’s song,Nkalakatha. Lerato, there are many of us who would quite happily march to the Union buildings to have that song banned.

My favourite point was language correction. When fellow Caucasians (white isn’t a race, it’s only divisive) put their airs upon the Ritz, it gives me a warm glow to drop the line, “So, how is your Zulu/Sotho/Sepedi/etc.” It’s usually a conversation stopper…

I realise how incredibly sanctimonious that sounds when read aloud, but it honestly saddens me that so very little of Caucasian South Africa is trying to learn a home language, a motherland language, an African born tongue. A wide broom? Perhaps. But then prove me wrong.

It’s as if the hammer hasn’t dropped how divorced us South African Caucasians are from our motherland, the generations of lost knowledge, the loss of the beat that pulses through Africa, that makes African born citizens part of Africa, because Africa doesn’t care about the outside, only that our hearts are red for her.

However, to try and learn a home language is incredibly expensive. Yes, children are learning a smattering of an African language at school but there is also no follow through, no conversation, and no growth.

I’ve enlisted the help of staff at the local grocer to teach me enough to at least have the beginning of a conversation. It’s not much, the staff has lots of fun at my tongue trying to wrap itself around unfamiliar pronunciations, but it is with a sense of accomplishment I leave the store.

They certainly don’t need help with English, if my isiZulu was as good as their English, I wouldn’t be writing this. Or maybe I would.

I believe being able to speak to each other in a motherland language is our first step to reconciliation, understanding, and for Caucasian South Africa, a sense of belonging.

Because otherwise we remain visitors in the land of our birth.

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2 Comments

  1. […] I realise how incredibly sanctimonious that sounds when read aloud, but it honestly saddens me that so very little of Caucasian South Africa is trying to learn a home language, a motherland language, an African born tongue.  […]

  2. […] See on Scoop.it – The translation studies portalI realise how incredibly sanctimonious that sounds when read aloud, but it honestly saddens me that so very little of Caucasian South Africa is trying to learn a home language, a motherland language, an African born tongue.See on amandzing.wordpress.com […]

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