Being of Malawian heritage I grew up in Zimbabwe speaking three languages. English (because the Brits pointed guns and made sure we did), Shona because the community I lived amongst spoke it predominantly. I also learn Chewa, spoken mainly in Malawi and Zambia through my parents. Coming to UK it was disappointing to find so many parents did not care about passing on their home languages to their children. “What the use?” they said. If only they realise these kids are going to be reminded they are “not from here” at some time. Mo Farah is a superstar British athlete but we are always reminded. Besides that I have met grown ups who are learning their home language as a way to connect to who they are and where they are from. I even made this film about that.
It is true kids learn when they are having fun. I learn Chewa through Sunday school because my parents took us to a Malawian church. As a kid church was a fun thing to be at. I love Gbemi’s method of using familiar translated nursery rhymes and games. You can find more about CultureTree TV by clicking here