"I realised I had unconsciously succumbed to the ethnic divisions fostered by the white government and I did not know how to speak to my own kith and kin. Without language one cannot talk to people and understand them, one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs...I realised that we were not different people with separate languages, we were one people with different tongues.".
This time next week my partner JP and I will be on a plane for South Africa, his homeland, so I've been reading Mandela's "Long Walk To Freedom." This passage got me thinking...
Neither JP or I can speak the languages that our parents could/can. Between us we have Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Chinese and Afrikaans in our veins but only English on our tongues. Last year JP travelled to India with me twice to connect with my roots and I am super excited to delve into his...but can any amount of time spent in one's ancestral land truly be absorbed without understanding the language?.
Through dance and music we connect with our culture but it doesn't replace the spoken word. I'm tired of blaming my parents for not teaching me, complaining about the racist system that pressured them to assimilate and feeling ashamed when I visit family. At some point you just gotta pick up a pen, download some audiobooks, get over your awkward western accent and #decolonizeyourmind
. This year I will learn basic Hindi: reading, writing and speaking. Thanks for the inspo Madiba 🇮🇳💪🏾🇿🇦✊🏾
Photo by @dioscuriphotography
for @amritha.shakti #browngirlpower
music video. Styling by @poornima_23.
Video coming soon...