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Let's call all the annoying twangers to order

By unknown | Dec 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

I am very annoyed. Some person has just called in to my favourite radio station and identified himself as Jah-Boo. The caller's name, of course, is Jabu.

Tumi, who had called minutes earlier, announced herself as Too-Me.

I do not want to hear another African brother or sister caricaturing his-her indigenous name in the hope of sounding urbane or whatever the deluded motivation for this shameful behaviour is.

I can understand, to a certain degree, why non-indigenous people are prone to mispronouncing our native names. I cannot comprehend what it is that compels us, who know better, to copy this same misrepresentation!

I feel as if I want to beat or strangle the self-hate out of all these clench-toothed coconuts who get on the air only to murder their given African names.

Sometimes one gets bitter-sweet revenge when the put-on nasal twang suddenly gives way to the inevitable faux pas; when 'don't' becomes 'daunt' and the twanger is unmasked as a fake.

Please don't tell me I am blowing pronunciation out of proportion. If we do not subconsciously believe that other people are superior to ourselves, why do we put so much effort into sounding like them?

This is one area in which many of us are disgracefully insecure, period. Several years back I walked in on a heated discussion in which the participants were aged between eight or nine.

The issue in dispute was which of the two schools attended by this group of five was better. Suddenly one pretty little voice piped up louder than the rest: "Our school is better coz we've only got one black teacher!" There followed a silence from the opposition. The matter seemed to have been settled.

"We've only got three black teachers, and two of them teach Zulu," came the feeble rejoinder at last, uttered with little conviction. All five kids in the room were black.

It makes no difference to me now how young or old the offender might be, I do not allow fellow blacks to mispronounce their own names and get away with it. I don't care if it happens on Kaya FM, Metro FM, YFM, Five FM or Highveld Stereo; I want the presenters, who should know better, to challenge, question and correct it.

That would be a small step in the prevention of the cultural suicide so fashionable among our people. We did not gain freedom to buy whiteness or colourlessness with it.

No amount of rainbow colouring will change the fact that this is Africa and we are Africans. Let us start with our names. Let's have some pride, dammit!

l F-WORD does not appear in today's paper. It will return next week Monday.


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