One of my parental failures… by Femi Akinwumi

I did not speak the Yoruba language to my children when they were young. I would be blowing grammars upandan. ‘Ekiti brought up’ blowing only grammars to his young children in Lagos.

My wife made efforts, but I did very poorly, out of ignorance. Today, I see it as my biggest parental failure. My children can only pick few words in my Yoruba language, a language I love and enjoy so much.

At high schools in North America, they saw the Chinese, the Indians and other Asians speak their language fluently, they mentioned this to us, and I knew I was responsible. If I had supported my wife when they were young, they all would have been very fluent, not speaking Yoruba ‘taa ta ta’


I was in my cousin’s house sometimes ago, and was shocked his children could not speak any form of the Yoruba language neither do they understand, and these are children born and brought up in Lagos. I shook my head in disbelief and in sympathy for the poor children.

A lot of us don’t know we are creating barriers for these children by depriving them of their cultural rights and heritage. Davido is a World beater today, extremely successful in his chosen career. Please, have you thought of it, if his billionaire father did not allow him to learn the rudiments of his native language when he was young, would he have been this successful? Listen to his songs and check his command of his native language.

I want to believe, the yorubas are the most guilty in Nigeria, the Igbos and the Hausas are far better. We think we are being ‘sophisticated’ in ignorance and lack of exposure,  destroying our cultural heritage.

Please, if you are still raising young children, don’t be a failure like me. Your children must be taught to speak and understand your native language. It’s no sign that you are cosmopolitan or enlightened when your children can’t speak your language, but a parental failure and a lack of the right exposure.

It’s never a strength but a weakness that would always take away from your children and deprive them of opportunities and privileges. Moreover, you are simply destroying your own heritage.

Good day friends.


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