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Media personality Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung has added his voice to the ongoing debate around speaking your mother tongue to children.
Somizi took to social media this week, where he encouraged parents to speak to their children in their mother tongue
In a seven-minute video he posted on Instagram, the star clarified that he was not attacking anyone’s parenting style.
“There is nothing wrong with your kids speaking English and going to English schools but I don’t think parents realise the kind of damage or missed opportunity they are depriving their children [of], and the power and wealth in knowing your mother tongue,” he said.
The “Dinner At Somizi’s” star recounted how he had spoken in vernac to some children, who were unable to respond because they did not understand the language fully.
He said it should be a child’s decision not to speak in their mother tongue, and not their parents’.
“You speaking and making them know their mother tongue would not take anything away. But, you not speaking to them in their mother tongue will take something away from them. I cringe!” he said.
He added that parents should consider striking a balance between English and their home languages to enable their children to speak both.
“The thing is they are balanced because at school they speak English and play with other kids. Everything is in English.
“When they come home, what’s wrong with having a balance? I know parents who create a balance at home and speak the mother language and make time for it — which is said that we have to make time for our mother tongues,” he said.
He said a child’s success is not exclusively dependent on which schools they went to or the language they speak.
“In adulthood, we’re on the same level. We’re the same,” he said.