Temidayo's Mandla story
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Bawo ni gbogbo nkan lọ eyin eniyan mi? (Yoruba, Nigeria)
My name is Temidayo Adekanye. I am a sophomore at Vanderbilt University, and I am a part ofthe early growth and development team here at Mandla. I joined the team a couple of months ago and I am originally from Lagos, Nigeria.
For centuries, our languages and cultures have been repressed by colonialism and its languages. I recall my father only wearing our native clothing on Fridays to work because the white man’s suit is seen as the professional standard. Why is our majestic agbada not good or professional enough? I recall when listening to afro beats was considered “razz” and uncivilized. Why was Don’t Dull by Wizkid, not a jam? I recall teachers hitting my peers because they spoke Igbo instead of English in class. Why should we not express ourselves in the rich tongue of our ancestors? This suppression of our identity by the systems set in place by colonialism has led many to consider learning our languages unimportant. I was one of them.
Even though I lived the first 14 years of my life in Nigeria, I had first-hand experience with understanding but speaking very little Yoruba. I know how much "shame" I felt when I was teased about it by extended family and how much I eventually desired to learn to speak Yoruba. Thankfully I had family members willing to teach and practice with me.
I am really excited about Mandla because I know my experience is not unique but not every eager learner has a willing teacher. Mandla is that willing teacher. Mandla would have helped 10 year old me so I really appreciate this opportunity to bring Mandla to eager learners.
Africa is the future and any serious understanding of this future begins with the study of its beautiful tongues. To me, Mandla is not only a language learning platform. It is the gateway to the future.
Growth and development