Someone once asked me why the Afrikan continent has no written language of its own. Well, it is worth stating some few but important facts. All peoples of the world have their own unique systems of writing, and we, Afrikans, are no exception. It is still sad that there are many who still think the Afrikan continent and her Diaspora are deficient of any kind of intellectual invention- be it language or technology. Since the purpose herein is scripted language, let me shed some light to this issue. Let me begin with the Kemetic/Egyptian hieroglyphics; and yes, Egypt is in Afrika. Let me even go further and state a few more. We have the Gicaandi of Kenya, Adinkra of Ghana, Kikaku of Mali, Geez of Ethiopia just to mention a few. Believe you me, when I say these are just a few, I mean exactly that -a very few indeed. If I were to state all of them, jaws would drop and eyes pop.
Then there are those who take it upon themselves a godly throne to claim that these -mostly symbolic writing systems -cannot be considered enlightened and evolved scripts. It is at this point that I believe an outsider would profit from a lesson or two if he just paid a little mind to the wisdom of the Afrikan voice. Afrikan languages are sweetened by sayings and symbols that find welcome home in any conversation. Proverbs and riddles are always abounding in any casual discussions. If I was to define Afrikan languages with a single word, then this throat would automatically utter SYMBOLIC. Some languages are as straight as arrows with no or little fluctuation in tone. Most of the Afrikan languages are anything but that. They are impeccably indirect and strongly tonal. Verbs change as you address individuals of different age groups, stress on certain words give them a totally different meaning, and sayings, symbols and riddles adorn our languages the more. I’m in no way romanticizing these languages; I speak several of them and therefore have unshakable confidence in what I say. Let me now hit you with one of these sayings: a man can confidently praise only that rain that has drenched him.
My message is mainly targeting those who are still convinced that just because a language cannot be compressed into two-dozen letters, then that language is not worthy of respect. I am beyond conviction that it would be true injustice to Afrikan languages if we allowed them to be chewed down to twenty-six letters or one-hundred characters. I am again beyond conviction that symbols do our languages due justice; if a language is in itself symbolic in nature, what better way to record it than using symbols? If people a product of his surrounding; if people finds that they best way to record their deepest thoughts is through the nature and culture they see around them, why should their recordings be looked down upon? What gives a person the right to describe a language as noise, chatters, or cliques just because it sounds different from his own? Language is a carrier of culture; therefore, by degrading a person’s language you consequently insult his or her culture. If this person begins to look down on his language, hence culture, he draws more closely to mental suicide. To teach a person to hate himself is synonymous to killing his spirit- the driving force of every person.
Every language is unique in its own way; to think otherwise is not to think at all. Following this line of thought, I think it is hence a waste of time to prove something that is already ‘obvious’. However, we are in an era where one has to chew, swallow and digest facts before his or her argument is even taken to consideration. I think it is very unfortunate that there are still many among us who cannot fathom or accept the fact that there are other peoples of the world capable of a producing a sophisticated culture. It is this mentality of ‘monopoly of genius’ that has turned human interaction into human discrimination. The so-called third world cultures have been bastardized by the so-called first world cultures almost to the point of extinction. In the quest for cultural integration, all we have experienced is cultural absorption, assimilation and degradation. People are disillusioned since instead of mutual exchange of ideas, one entity totally dominates the other because the mentality of ‘monopoly of intellectuality’ is still deeply rooted in our societies. One culture totally overwhelms another. In this present day, in this crash of civilizations, it is unfortunate that ‘old world cultures’ are the most crashed. If the only thing you can boast about is another person’s culture and not your own, then you are walking on breaking ice.
Consequently, my hope is that this article will achieve a couple of things, namely: to is instill pride and confidence among those whose cultures that have been continually debased, to prune the seed of historical amnesia which is at the root of inferiority complex, and to challenge those who still think very little of the so-called third world cultures.