The last article I sent revolved around the holy grails of nairobians and their yuppie culture. I’m back with another one taking a skewed look into the annoying habit of city dwellers bothering the locals with Kiswahili and English when they visit home.
I’ve always insisted that those who claim to have been exposed and infused with city mannerisms to speak with me in our dholuo so long as we are in the village.
Last month I was on elections upcountry and a certain teacher’s training college boy decided to engage me in English amidst locals who barely understood us.
The situation got so bad I stopped him and asked that I would appreciate if he could use mother tongue so as not to put people in an awkward social situation.
Whenever I go home, I always notice how different I am from the rest of the pack. My brilliance stands out, courtesy of socialization I get from libraries and media and people. I come to see how superficial and futile are most people’s thoughts, how narrow their ideas, how mean their sentiments, how perverse their opinions, and how much of error there is in most of them.
Yet, I don’t want to assert my brilliance by speaking in languages they don’t understand. I want to remain in the village, act in the village, do whatsoever is needful, and yet remain transcendental, aloof, detached, a lotus flower in the pond.
It speaks to a certain lack of culture, in fact, to launch into a language which you know for a fact the people around you don’t understand, especially at a public forum.
City dwellers be very careful when you visit home not to put people surrounded by goats, cows and chickens into an unnecessary challenging spot.
My biggest beef with you is that you never want to speak our mother tongue. There are some stupid folks raised in towns who think that not knowing mother tongue is the embodiment of civilisation, the pinnacle of coolness and ultimate marker of intelligence. But their heads are emptier than a divorced single father’s kitchen cabinet.
I love my language, I love the way my people are. I love the way we look, the way we act, the deeply descriptive expressions that come from speaking vernacular – I love it all.
It’s a good thing, I think, when you can speak English – and Kiswahili, but it turns negative when you insist on speaking it everywhere. It shows you are not interested in communication. You are interested in manifesting pride.