Thursday, September 4, 2014

Swahili: Tanzania’s identity or handicap?

"It is embarrassing to admit that as a Tanzanian I have committed crimes against Kiswahili. I have used the word “mswahili”, which translates as someone belonging to a Swahili culture but is used to mean the person in question is uncivilised. I have been guilty of reducing the language and identity of my people to something cheap, plugging in English words to look cool or stress a point when I could just as well have used Kiswahili. Perhaps this is about more than just Swahili vs. English; perhaps this is part of the identity crisis faced by most Africans. How many of us adore something foreign over our own – bleach our skin and reject blackness, or chemically relax our kinks to look “better”? Are we, as Frantz Fanon put it in Black Skins, White Masks, striving to become less African in a bid to become more “civilised”, even as we claim our pride in being African?"- Neema Komba < >


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