By Olutayo Irantiola
Yoruba parents have been accused of creating a gap between their children and their roots through the systematic neglect of the language. This was unveiled at “Yorùbá Lákòtun”, a quarterly cultural program at the Ethnic Heritage Center in Ikoyi, Nigeria.
Ayoade Okedokun, author of Ika Abamo, Omo Elede and other books in both Yoruba and English, said, “there are certain words that cannot be translated into Yoruba language because it has no equivalent in English and vice versa. He explained that Yoruba parents have mixed up the role of the school and that of the home.”
In his words, “the payment made in the school is to teach the children the English language; while the children should learn the Yoruba language from their parents and immediate community. Unfortunately, many people muddled up these roles which are distinctly separate. Parents should cooperate to ensure that their children understand the language; children should not be separated from their roots.”
Similarly, Adebunmi Adeniran, Chief Executive of Nailangs, a virtual keyboard that can type 12 Nigerian languages with tonal marks, expressed shock at the rate in which Yoruba parents tell their children to speak English compulsorily in country, when Yorubas in the diaspora are keen about making their children understand the language.
“Our mother tongue needs to be a reference point many generations to come and we have to ensure that it is preserved with the use of technology and also orally as passed down from one generation to another,” Adeniran said.
At the cultural program, Adesewa Oyinkansola, a university student, mentioned, “I challenged my mum…I do not want to be a stranger to my culture. My mum agreed and today, I prefer to read my Yoruba Bible and wear Yoruba clothes.”
The program was dedicated to Benin Republic, a country where the Yoruba language has just been adopted as the second language. Although, there is a slight variation of the Yoruba spoken there for many it is a step in the right direction. Everyone is calling upon the Nigerian Government to emulate this idea rather than making international languages compulsory at the expense of Nigerian languages at all levels of learning.
The Ethnic Heritage Center is located at 35A, Raymond Njoku Street off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and is the foremost learning center for the learning of Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and French. The center also has a library stocked with books in all these languages.
For more information on “Yorùbá Lákòtun” a quarterly cultural event where different creative arts are showcased as well as an interview session with a writer contact Peo Davies Concepts here.