What does your 'twang' say about your identity?

The accent of the Mandela great-grandchildren has sparked a fiery debate about language, identity, and accents.

Poet Ntsiki Mazwai called out the children and said they must spend some time in the village to get their Xhosa straight.

Eusebius McKaiser engaged callers on the open line about what accent is appropriate or acceptable to society. McKaiser says back in the day, it was a great thing to have an English accent but these days it is considered white cultural appropriation and is, he says, often shunned by the 'woke' generation.

If your child only speaks English is it a problem and why is that so?

Eusebius McKaiser, show host

Callers raised the issue of identity and being multilingual.

Language is a form identity before it becomes a form of communication. You can be authentically Zulu because we cannot take the Zulu part of you but how do you identify with the Zulu nation if you can't speak their language?

Patrick, caller

It is true that people think when children have a certain accent they are more articulate and clever. And I suppose that's why people want their children to go to Model 'C' schools today. Instead, they are robbing them of their cultural identity.

Theke, caller

Some callers expressed how they don't force their children to learn other languages while others talked of how they were rejected by their communities for their English accent.

We try and encourage our daughter to speak Zulu or Tswana but we don't force her. The environment we are living in is an English environment and she's growing in it.

Sam, caller

I lived overseas for quite a long time and when I moved back as a young professional, I was rejected by my own people because of my accent. As far as my career is concerned, funnily enough, my accent has helped me progress because I have confused people and the accent seems to work in my industry.

Linda

Here are some of the reaction from tweeps

Listen to the full debate here


This article first appeared on 702 : What does your 'twang' say about your identity?


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