As a proud South African I am exposed to 11 official languages in our rainbow nation. We have a tendency of feeling inferior when speaking our mother tongues. I originate from a Tswana speaking culture. (Ke Motswana Morolong wa mmina tholo). Nothing beats someone who is proud, passionate and loves his/her own language as I do.

You will never determine where you are going if you don’t know where you come from. No offence, but I fail to understand why we should be so thick in the head as to embrace a language while thinking your own mother tongue is dirt cheap.

I am a man who can be taken away from Tswana speaking people, but you can’t take Tswana away from me. Yes, they will tease you and make you ashamed of your accent. Know that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Let’s bury the hatchet. In a nutshell, you can adopt a new language, but never forget who you are. Your happiness matters the most. Don’t try to be someone you are not in order to steal the show. I repeat: this is a cheap thing to do.


Phenyo wrote this as a grade 10 student at Tong Comprehensive School, Ganyesa.