“𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘣𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘪𝘬𝘶𝘺𝘶𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘒𝘦𝘯𝘺𝘢, 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘍𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘩𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘎𝘶𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘢 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘐𝘨𝘣𝘰 𝘰𝘧 𝘕𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘯𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘢𝘴 𝘉𝘢𝘳𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘴.” ~ 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑓. 𝑌𝑒𝑚𝑖 𝑂𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑏𝑎𝑗𝑜
At the end of March 2023, Aru, Deng, myself and another colleague of ours converged in one of London’s eateries to catch up. We would touch on the question of education, language, and their varied elements – culture and tradition and how each affects the other; what shapes them across time and space in the context of South Sudan. Each of us shared the concern of an exponential identity loss in the not distant future. For example, the rate at which native languages are disappearing, the obsession of current generation with modernity – accepted as a given without putting it to test, and of course, their negative implications on the society both as sources of deep meaning and as drivers of innovation.
In the words of Prof. 𝙏𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙣 𝙇𝙤 𝙇𝙞𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙜, ‘culture is rutan’ loosely translated to mean that culture is ‘language.’ Arguably, without the language, mankind struggles to define their roots since most of cultural codes and conducts are sourced from its language. What’s more, ideas and emerging thoughts are framed in it. In de-colonial studies, there is a school of thought which suggests that one of the primary reasons why Africa has failed to leapfrog is due to the fact that it lacks a common innovating language – the rise of China, and contentiously, India are said to have happened due to the former. I subscribe to this thinking with few reservations. But the point is clear, language is a key ingredient for progress. I don’t know what you think.