My Random Thoughts and Experiences

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Language Please

This is quite sensitive for me cos. i have also fallen victim by this. I grew up in a society that believed that if i spoke my native language, it was bad and it would spoil my English. Well being grown now and more learned, ...that was all cock and bull , only a continuous means of colonization on everyone. Why does something that makes us who we are, have to have a bad connotation. Why is it that if i spoke in my native language Yoruba, people view me that i cant speak English or i am an illiterate. Believe me, the best known Yoruba scholars i know ..have a great command of English. But why do the majority feel that way. When i was in Secondary school, we hardly spoke Yoruba and if you were spoken too,we answered in English thinking that it was cool not to be able to speak the language. Now i think that was just bizzare. However, i still see so many people just want to deny there real identity and become something else. I guess they rather speak like ghetto peeps from the west ( america to be precise) than speak like the kings and queens they are with their mother tongue.

I always wonder why the whole world says motherland but Nigeria says fatherland. I guess it goes back to the fact that we are so much of a patriliineal society. How can i change that.. How can i change the fact that some men are just so chavinistic and stupid and women dont even help matters. anyway i guess i derailed from my language topic but i could not help just airing my disdain for naija supression of women. to be contd....

Also another issue i have is with people who come to this country America and change their names to better suit the so called americans. My aunt always says if one can pronunce Schwarzenegger why not a yoruba name.In my school we had these group of taiwanese people who came here to study and all changed their names.One was ysin Hu and we called her Kate, one kept changing her name every week from julie, to jessica to what have you. I even hear naija people changing their last name or shortening it . This is ridiculous.If you are important believe me people would pronunce your name however it is and whatever mouth and tongue manipulations you need to do. Do Americans go to china and change their name to Lee or chan? Hells NO!!!. Ive even seen when naija people only name their kids with so called american /english names such as Brian, Sean etc and no Nigerian name. I mean where is the heritage. Am i that ethnocentric that i think its a problem? Or i should just let people do what they want to do. I guess thats why I am not GOd unless...................................................... i hate and love the word.

Ok this might sound strange, but as i hate the word African, i also love it.
I love the word African, as it stands for so many positive things as i am...but why is it that when anyone refers to me as an African or from Africa i cringe. Dont get me wrong....I love who i am and i am so proud of where i belong and would not trade it for anything. I believe my hate for the word "African" has nothing to do with any embarrassments, I just hate when i hear that word being referred . For instance why is it African art but not European Art. Why are we all bottled in one category when we are a people of diverse and different categories. I might not be well informed but art in Nigeria varies from Nok Culture scuptures,the benin bronzes, to various eras of designs. But why is the whole of Africa categorized under one huge umbrella. When you see art from the North it is very different from the west, the south , the east. I mean someone walks up to me and says "oh do the African dance". What the hell does that mean. like we all Africans have a type of dance where we move our hands and legs and jump up and down and do the hokey pokey and we turn ourselves around? Only in Nigeria i know a few types of dances such as bata, atilogwu, egungun and many more dances. No one ever says "hey do the European dance" or the "North American dance". crazy! Crazy i say.
Well i have been told by my friends that i am making this more of an issue than it really is. That there is no big deal if we all summed up under one group. Well this might not make any sense to someone else but it does make sense to me. SO as Africans, lets begin to give names to our individualities and not generalize. No more "African music "but Fuji, apala, Afro juju, juju, hip life, high life and all the works. Egungun Dancers taken from Youtube.

Igbo Dancer taken from Youtube