For they that know what it’s like to break your fast with a cup of porridge and a piece of cold ugali number two, they might as well be in a better position to remember the duf- a -mpararo childhood game.
I was born in the rural areas, attended two primary schools, two secondary schools and now in the university-all in the rural areas. Yet, I am expected to speak properly refined Swahili and English just like a city-bred kid.
You never realize the impact that growing in the village may have on your life until later days probably in your teens or adulthood. As a child, you enjoy all the games of tree climbing and hare hunting with fellow lads, run away from school with other kids to see elephants and eat wild fruits and they are all fun and amazing adventures. You enjoy speaking your mother tongue in school and repeat it again even after being caned and you think it’s a good teacher-pupil game.
You attend a primary school where the teacher teach English and Swahili in your mother tongue yet the same teachers want you to speak in at least Swahili since English is perceived as quite difficult to learn in the village. The teachers ensure there is a monitor written “I AM STUPID” which should be hung on the neck of all the mother tongue speakers in addition to which their behinds are properly nursed by all the 15 teachers in that school with a donkey whip or a cedar cane if lucky. The roots of education are indeed bitter and unfortunately the fruits may also end up being bitter with such kind of knowledge administration.
If I say my name is Ririan, don’t keep asking “ati who?” yet you very well know that I mean Lilian only that my regional dialect and social background do not favor me. Yet it’s not my fault that my pronunciation is poor since that’s how even my English teacher said it and giggling and laughing at it should not be an alternative for any learned person.
Putting on trousers as a lady and hugging the opposite sex is an abominable act and that is the culture I have subscribed to for the last 20+ years. Calling me a mshamba and gibbering about how old fashioned I am just because I do not subscribe to the university lifestyles can therefore not change an inch of me.
If I don’t know who Diamond or MJ is just because the only stars I have known in my life is Queen Jane and the likes of Wa kahalf and I have enjoyed their music since my childhood. Or how does knowing the number of pores on Rihanna’s skin benefit me? Why should I then change my music preference just to fit into certain groups? Everyone got right to entertainment and should not feel compelled to change their taste to be accommodated by others.
People have suffered from inferiority complex syndrome just because the city-bred fellows feel that they are more superior and have better contributions to the society than the washambas. The mockery people receive for mispronouncing words have made some feel shy of interacting with others and even speaking in public. It all makes you look like three idiots in one if you being the intellectual you are can burst into laughter just because someone speaks in a heavy mother tongue accent.
We do not choose where to be born and how or where to grow up and attend school. As such, our social background should never at any given time be used to measure our intellectuality and capabilities.