Our churches must not lose Africanness

I AM very distressed and frustrated by the trend in township churches where sermons and singing takes place in English to the detriment of our languages.

Thankfully this is predominantly happening in charismatic and not traditional churches.

South Africa is trying to restore and elevate indigenous languages and one would imagine that our churches would be at the forefront of this cause.

Language is about values, morals, identity and wisdom - the things that are drilled into parishioners. Social structures rally against immorality and yet they are oblivious to preserving language and culture, which are conduits of good virtues.

Having a linguistically plural congregation should not compromise heritage. The obsession to sing English hymns further robs us of the distinctly African rhythm and melodies we are renowned for.

The borrowed songs take away the freedom and fullness of sound that characterise black worship and condemn us to expressionless flat pitches that are spiritually un-fulfilling. It is an abomination that 90percent of the content of township church music is based on American albums.

Musical bands and lead singers (sometimes lacking talent, but catapulted due to family status) who mimic these songs have killed creativity and development of African songs that tell our story.

Traditional songs are relegated to elderly groups occasionally called to stage, further perpetuating that Africanness and tradition belong to the past.

Churches should not only preach about sin but tackle language extinction and reverse the effect of colonialism. They must contribute to Africa's rebirth.

Buhle Zuma, Gauteng