Celebrated writer Ngugi Wa Thiongo has called the youth to free themselves from what he terms as ‘mental slavery’ by learning their mother tongue.
Speaking while launching a Dholuo book, Somo Ber, written by Norbert Oluoch, George Ombetu and Chrispin Ongola, Thiongo revealed that he switched to writing in local languages after realising that his own mother could not understand his English books.
He however said that he was not against learning foreign languages rather he found it empowering to learn them but after mastering the vernacular language.
“If you have mastered the environment of your home, you can go to other places very well and come back, unlike when you go somewhere and do not know where you come from. If you know the language of your culture and the others, it is empowerment,” said Thiongo.
The writer challenged county governments to set aside more resources to promote local languages.
“Let it not just be talk that we support local languages but we give priority to foreign languages. if we support our local languages we will create new people who will conquer the world,” he said.
Somo Ber is a three chapter book for class one students containing content on listening, speaking, writing and oral skills.