Opinion

For Agikuyu, Gikuyu is our language

By Muhia Kamau

It is a shameful thing to hear people, who are Gikuyu from head to toe, say openly that they do not know Gikuyu and say it in Gikuyu.

 If you ask them why they do not know Gikuyu, they will answer that Gikuyu is harder than English.

Some give other reasons.

 They will say for instance that they have been brought up in Nairobi or Mombasa and so they were not taught Gikuyu.

This only shows that they are not interested in learning how to read and write it.

They can speak Gikuyu without stammering and they can also write a bit, but since they have the colonialist's rooster in their minds, they do not think of themselves as Gikuyu.

If you have not learned to speak Gikuyu, do not despise your language and say that it is not good only because you cannot speak it well.

We do not think that there is a Gikuyu who would like to be called half-Gikuyu and half-European.

This means that those Gikuyu who are enslaved by the colonialist's language are not aware of it.

They cannot see the danger of throwing away their language and beliefs.

Now, if at your place of work you always speak English, if at home you speak English, if you discuss with other Gikuyu in English, isn't it true that you have been captured and enslaved by the English language?

Don't you think that you have rejected the language that belongs to you, that you have married the colonialist, without receiving a dowry?

There is no doubt that if the Gikuyu do as those half-Gikuyu who speak English all the time, in 100 years' time all Gikuyu will be married to Englishmen.

Anthropologists have discovered that when a people adopt a foreign language, they end up being slaves to the foreign people who are the owners of the language they use.

 For this reason the Gikuyu will become slaves to the British.

Those who adopt the foreign language, feel happy when they speak English or do things in the English way for they claim to understand English better than Gikuyu.

For example, they listen to English music on the radio, they write letters in English, read English books, or preach the word of God in English and so on.

It has been discovered that those who are enslaved in this way, can get used to many other colonialist things which are related to the language they use. Little by little they become alienated from their customs and traditions and also from their traditional celebrations.

In the end, they are even denied their national liberty and they lose political control to the foreigners - all this as a result of using a foreign language.

These Gikuyu are the ones who argue saying that Gikuyu has not got a large enough vocabulary to express the ideas they have in mind clearly.

 If there was no English language in Kenya, what language would they be speaking, if not Gikuyu? . . .


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