Hello. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I would appreciate having a conversation with all of you around the world about our mother tongue. On that note, I would like to delve further into my 1st blog.
Language shapes our worldview
As you are aware, our topical theme once again is on ‘Mother-Tongue’, therefore many may be wondering why I spoke of colonialism in my first paragraph. After doing my research into why I feel so strongly about mother tongue, I admire hard working people at Cultural Survival and how they put t, "Language is the foundation of a culture. Words hold knowledge amassed for millennia. It also holds the stories, songs, dances, protocols, family histories and connections. They also often hold the community's customary laws that were eroded by colonial policies. Indigenous languages are the entryway to Indigenous cultures, cosmovisions, philosophies and traditional knowledge; which is intrinsically tied to sustaining Earth's biodiversity."
Being a global citizen from humble beginnings
I could not have put it better myself. Having lived with many cultures. I remember in the Mandingo tribe, till present, they have what we call ‘Griots’ (Praise singers).
Griots pass down family histories including history of various Kingdoms which have been passed by the elders from one generation to another. And these ‘Griots’ would be invited to festivities or sometimes just come, and start doing their story telling in a manner of a song, or poetic manner, recounting the history of the village, its heroes and how the young person may be related to those people.
It becomes a great honour for the family especially the young members of the clan, for some it’s their first time that they learn other things about their ancestors and also shows them how people in the community regard their family. It kind of forces you to do better.
Not withstanding, as a Mosotho woman myself and my family being of the (seboko sa ka) ‘Bataung’ meaning Lion (totemic name), nothing gives me greater pleasure than when I hear my family members ‘Ba-ithoka’ at family gatherings. Moreover, singing traditional Basotho songs, and watching the men and women dancing.
I ask myself, will our children ever learn this? What customary/heritage legacy am I leaving for my grandchildren and hopefully great grand-children.
Longing, what does it mean to feel at home?
Secondly, I mentioned, the two holidays that quickly came to my mind in my previous post. My use and mention of Christmas holiday has nothing to do with religion. I have known many a person, whether practising or not and with different faiths, still going home during the said holiday season.
Mind you there are many holidays world-wide, may there be religious or a particular family celebration/get together, I believe, people revel in hearing their mother-tongue and the obvious fact that we can never freely express ourselves in a secondary language like we do in our proper mother tongue.
Most times, there is just no equivalent.
Where does it lead?
Written and spoken words are an art form, a way for values and traditions to be passed down for generations. When a language is lost, part of that culture is lost. By the same measure, when language is preserved, the traditions and customs continue living in the hearts and minds of those who understand it.
What is the role of indigenous language in promoting culture and unity in the society?
Well, for indigenous people, languages not only identify their origin or membership in a community - but they carry forward the ethical values of their ancestoral knowledge and clan systems, that make them one with the land becoming crucial to the survival of future generations.
Once again, I am inviting discussions on our topic Mother tongue.