Don’t neglect home language

Xabisa Mjijwa, Mfuleni

I was thrilled when I saw Vukani had dedicated two editions in support of IsiXhosa Matric First Language preparation guide by Tozama Yawa.

Language is what makes us human, it’s how people communicate. By learning a language, it means you have mastered a complex system of words, structure and grammar to effectively communicate with others.

Good people, I’ve been around kids who struggle to speak their home language due to parents who took them to “fancy schools”. They keep on saying their kids are too smart that’s why they can’t speak their home language properly.

Some kids may not be very excited at the thought of speaking their parents’ language, some of them are even ashamed of their home language. By nature, children want to be like their classmates. For instance, if their friends speak only English, they might also want to speak just English in order to fit in and be popular in townships as they are called “coconuts”.

Parents who want their kids to speak a second language should continue to speak it at home, regardless of how reluctant their children might be. It’s okay to teach your child more than one language but don’t let them neglect their own home language.

In some countries, it’s common for kids to learn two or more languages at a time and to use them daily to communicate and understand people around them.

Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”