“Losing the language means losing the culture. We need to know who we are because it makes a difference in who our children are.”—Dottie LeBeau
Lefatshe le le senang ngwao, ke moka le latlhegileng (a nation without culture is a lost nation). Culture is beautiful and gives a sense of pride and belonging that we all long for. Components that make up culture should be passed on to the next generations that follow. Things like norms, traditions, values, dance, tales, songs just to name a few should be taught to children so that the legacy does not die out.
“Generations have struggled to learn, despite efforts to eliminate our traditions and language. Having a strong sense of yourself and your community is a great foundation for learning.”—Agnes Chavis, Lumbee
One has to be involved in their culture so that they can be able to know who they are, where they are from and where they are going. Here in Africa, we have been taught the white culture in fact the English language since we were young and we have some how forgotten our ancestral trail and have lost our ways. It is no wonder we are raising our children to only speak English and have done away with our mother tongue; The language that brings us closer to who we are as people.
The only way to develop a strong sense of knowledge of ourselves is if we go back to our roots, that way we will have a better nation. As parents we need to teach our children the essence of language and that losing their mother language is a major dent in the true identity of who they are. Not only is losing language a major problem, it is losing a feeling, an identity, a prayer, an ideology.
Raising children in a fast changing world can be overwhelming, but culture shouldn’t be taken away from them too. They can be a part of the world, interacting with other people of different cultures, tribes and ethnic groups, but they should also be involved in their own culture, knowing everything that makes them know who they are. As a motswana mother, speaking setswana, knowing poems, songs, ceremonies and tales of the batswana, I believe it is of great importance that I teach these to my children, so they can teach the generations to come. Because if I don’t, all these will slowly fade away.
Culture is dynamic yes, but we cannot do away with it completely and pick up a new culture, as if we are saying our ancestors did not know what they were talking about. To understand your culture however, we must know our language.