By Tamlyn Canham
Somizi Mhlongo says there is power and wealth in black children knowing their mother tongue.
The 48-year-old has been sharing his views on black parents who only speak to their children in English at home.
Somizi says the child then grows up only speaking English.
“There is nothing wrong with your kids speaking English and going to English schools [but] I don’t think parents realise the kind of damage or the kind of missed opportunity they are depriving their children,” he said in a video shared on Instagram.
The ‘Dinner at Somizi’s’ star says he has come across some children who don’t understand their mother tongue at all.
“There is something sad when you speak with a black child and they don’t know what they are saying… I just find it unfair for children not to be given an opportunity to learn to speak their mother tongue properly.
“You not teaching your children is going to take something away from them… I cringe!”
Find a balance
Somizi says children are already learning to speak English at school, and parents need to find a balance to ensure their children don’t miss out on being multilingual.
They are balanced because at school they speak English, they play with other kids, everything is in English. When they come home what’s wrong with having a balance? I know parents who do that, who create a balance at home.
Please, parents, think about it if you still have an opportunity.”
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Somizi’s followers share their views
Somizi’s followers weighed in on the matter. Many agreed with his remarks, with one saying some parents are proud that their children can only speak English.
“The problem lies with us parents. We are very proud that our kids can’t speak or express themselves in their mother tongue. I for one, and I think a lot of parents, will agree or attest to this. We speak our native languages and the kids decide to respond in English but, it still doesn’t take away the fact that you are teaching them their roots.
“Eventually, you will see as they progress they start speaking the language even though sometimes it’s broken, but I always correct them,” one Instagram user commented.
Some parents admitted that they have not done enough to teach their children their mother tongue but are making an effort to do so.
“I am guilty of not doing more of teaching my son my mother language but I’m definitely trying my best this year to try… especially when he’s naughty..it comes out more gosh..and funny enough he wants to know what I mean…”
But not everyone agreed. One user suggested that English is the “currency language”. Somizi disagreed.
“If that was the case the Japanese [would] be poor…..French…..most Europeans…..China….etc….
Main image credit: Instagram/@somizi