If my hearing serves me well, I eavesdropped that some of our legislators are touting the quick introduction of mother tongue instruction in the classroom as opposed to instruction in Setswana and English.
This leaves me awestruck what sort of future nation our leaders envisage.
The proponents of this debate lean heavily on emotive arguments devoid of grounded support and reason.
Honestly, it is very imperative for us to observe that as a nation we share communal identities that supersede our individualistic determination at personal level.
Before people start thinking about what tribe they are, they should identify themselves as a nation. The identities things that solidify us as a nation like the national flag, national anthem, territory, official languages and Head of State cannot be nibbled at without backlashes.
It does not matter whether the flag is blue or whether the Head of State is a Mokgalagadi but other tribes are Bangwato or Basarwa. The bottom line is that all Batswana share specific identities. It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that we safeguard these treasures that seam us together.
The issue of language divisiveness reminds me of the biblical story of the tower of Babel. Once upon Biblical time the people of the world were building a great tower so that they could live together happily live in it. At that time the people spoke one language. But the Lord realized that people united as they were, were becoming rebellious.
They could achieve anything they set out to do and they were becoming arrogant. The Lord forthwith confused people with different languages and caused disunity amongst them such that they abandoned building the great tower because they could not understand each other nor agree. I want to make it clear from the onset that I fancy to believe that in the modern Botswana there are not many people who can boldly confess to be cast of pure breed of any particular ethnic group. Overtime the tribes that comprise our nation have integrated and intermarried and that has weaved together our national cohesion.
Villages, towns and settlements have become more of rendezvous of people than tribal territories. Maybe I am too fussy, but please bear with me for it happens to cause itching rash all over.
Bear with me because Botswana is still at her most sensitive stage and so lucky is she because before her there had been nations that lost their hymens due to ignoring early manifesting indicators of tearing apart demons. She has not yet been defiled by turbulences unlike most of her African peers and so dear is she to our heart.
The crux of the matter is that the common demonic rapist BADS (Bad African Divisive Syndrome) is on the loose looking for a fresh virgin after defiling most of Africa.
Botswana is amongst the few venerable.
The notion of differential language instruction in our education system on tribal basis must be consumed with a pinch of salt because the reasoning behind it makes more sound than rhythm. To catch the substance for this notion is as good as grabbing the wind. Let me accede to compare Botswana to South Africa, a nation that is often used to argue for the mother languages instruction in the classroom.
Well there are many areas in which South Africa transcended, which we can copy like infrastructural development, commercial development sport and arts development, resources beneficiation etc. But at the same time we are an admired model society in areas such as societal cohesion, united tribes. That is why we are not the rainbow society but rather a beacon of hope across the African sky.
I must confess that I madly love the Gana, Naro and Gwi sarwa languages. If only these languages were offered as optional subjects in our schools, I would have done them right away. Lord have mercy, if French and potentially Chinese are taught in our schools as optional subjects why can’t we do the same for our own local languages, sesarwa, ikalanka, sekgalagadi etc at secondary school level? But the notion of allowing a cacophony of languages of instruction in our schools will harm the learners together with society.
This will result in worse consequences, especially at foundation stage or primary school.
We can’t allow our children to be confused by ultra-motivated look holy agendas unless we swear to say we are integration-fatigued and separatist-inclined. Just imagine a school in Zoroga village, for example, which has sarwa, ikalanka, herero and tswana speakers, what sort of language will be preferred as the language of instruction in that scenario, all? I plead with our leaders to exercise caution.
Well the garments of fashion come and go at the whims of man but the garments that hold a nation together are the domain of God and tempering with them is as good as playing with fire. Guess why Kenya has about 40 native languages but has only two, Swahili and English, as both official and languages of instruction; because they are smart enough to understand to avert by all means the situation of the tower of Babel and safeguard nationhood.
For us just because we have never been challenged by divisive strives does not mean that we must relax and think out of complacency that we are inured to harmony notwithstanding the choices we make. Realistically speaking Batswana are mobile in the contemporary times. People move from place to place due to transfers and search for work. And as they do so most ferry their children along. As we speak antiquated tribal ridges were long leveled such that any Motswana of any tribal extract can settle anywhere in Botswana. Now does this mean that if I move from Bokspits, where my son had to endure Afrikaans at school, to Gumare my son will have to endure Seyei there? And then if I move to Mapoka my son will have to forget Seyei and endure Ikalanka. The only sense this makes to me is a senseless bombardment of my child’s innocent mind with a reckless confusion. Lord have mercy upon us if this is your making to punish us for our sins with the rod of disunity like you did the town of Babel, but if it is man’s egocentric desires disgrace it immediately. Amen