Passing On The Baton

Inspirational, Stories 13/11/2013 by Robert Ekpeme

They were all seated down in the living room watching a movie when the next door neighbour came in to pay them a visit. Mama in their native language codedly told her grand children of 15 & 18 yrs old respectively to get the visitor some kola and then go out and play so she could discuss certain issues with the visitor, but the children unfortunately couldn’t comprehend the language their grandma had spoken in.

Mama was overtly infuriated and had to code switch into English language before they understood her and reacted accordingly. Mama was disappointed that her son and his wife had not taken their time to teach their children the native language handed down to them.

She was always stranded when hosting visitors in her son’s house because there was no way she could share secrets with her grand children in the presence of the visitors. Mama was unhappy that a part of their cultural identity was going to die with the generation of her immediate children.

One day Mama sat down to reflect on the consequences of allowing the unpleasant trend to continue and she asked me to forward this message to all Benue people.

Moral of the Story:

The Language you speak gives an insight about your culture and the geographical location you come from i.e. a person’s birth place. For instance, when a woman speaks Tiv or Igede, it is assumed that she is from Benue. Language is said to be the foundation of every culture and means of identity. People who speak the same language tend to identify with each other.

It’s important that there is a hand over of language from one generation to another. Parents are obligated to speak and teach their children the native language handed down to them and also encourage their children to teach their own children and so on, else the language aspect of their culture will go into extinction. We must not allow: Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Nyiton, Etulo, Ufia and other Benue languages to die in our hands.

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