Tag Archive | "Tradition"

Computing in Mother Tongue

For all intents and purposes, many of South Africa’s indigenous languages are listed among the world’s most endangered languages. What this means in simple terms is that many of our languages will most likely become extinct in the near future. This, despite the fact we are the majority in this country, yet our majority languages face the danger of disappearing because people elevate English at the expense of their own languages.

I used to think it ridiculous to think that our languages can die! But having been involved in several language projects, I am more than alarmed at the status of our languages.

Many African intellectuals have given us many reasons why the state of affairs, not forgetting that they have not included themselves as the primary proponents of our dying languages because to them English is status. Many of these intellectuals cannot even construct a full sentence in their mother tongue.

There have been a number of initiatives aimed at improving the status and use of African languages, yet many of these projects have failed simply because African people see no value in their own languages. They would rather struggle to express themselves in a foreign language.

Recently, I was asked to give a basic translation into any South African language of my choosing. While I take pride in my language competence and consider myself an expert in my own language, I was reminded of how shameful our people are. When efforts like these come our way, many people, instead of being honest to say they are not equipped to translate to our languages, will happily give substandard work! These are people who themselves hardly speak the language, yet they find it normal to translate into a language they do not speak. This trend is the same with professional translators. While many may have degrees in translation and communication, many simply just translate nonsense.

The result is Read the full story

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Gender Roles

Recently I have gone through a life-altering experience. I have welcomed a new being into my life. During a conversation with a couple of friends we mentioned our childhoods and the ways in which we were raised. I remember my childhood years quite vividly and very fondly, they were amongst the happiest times in my existence. As I recounted my memories to my friends they were utterly aghast at the role my father played in my upbringing. I was equally shocked by their response and disbelief in the reversal of gender roles.

To paint you, reader, a picture of my childhood, I grew up in a kasi during the eighties. It was a time where children played those old school games in the streets until they were red with dust. A period where a mere fifty cents could buy all the snacks your little heart could dream of.  Yes, in my home the roles based on gender were contrary to those held by tradition.

My mother worked at the local hospital; she owned and drove a vehicle. My father also owned his vehicle but he had taken an early retirement package from his workplace which meant that he was home, most o the time. My father, as an African man, I believe, was quite ahead of his time. I have fantastic memories of him getting me ready for a day at the day care. I recall him teaching me the Freedom Charter of 1955, and teaching me how to tell time. We would sit together having coffee, I felt all so grown up. To me he was a positive male role model; I do not know how he felt about those times, and the role he played. Culturally, an African man who would play a pivotal role in raising a child in the manner that my father did would be viewed as an emasculated man.

Traditionally, women are the ones expected to rear the children, while the men are away from the homestead. Whilst the men are away, the women are the ones shaping the kind of person the child will become when they are adults. Raising children is one of life’s important and challenging tasks, as that person will have a part in shaping the future.  When the men are away from home, they are missing out on quality time with their child; quality time which they could use to fill the void and to create a balance in the life and the outlook of the child.

On my personal journey, I will be raising a boy child. He will grow up without an emphasis on gender work division, or any gender specific roles. I will do this in the hopes to shape a man who will have respect for gender equality in all aspects of life.

Opposing that cultural and traditional belief, men, particularly African men, should be encouraged to play a more participatory role in raising their offspring, in that way, they imprint a personal stamp on the future adult.


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