The irritating sounds of ‘by force Twi’ by some Fantes on Cape Coast radio. Language and culture, they say, are intertwined.
Your language usually points out to a particular geographical setting you come from. Thus, when you interact with another language, it means that you are also interacting with the culture that speaks the language.
The inescapable conclusion is that you cannot understand one's culture without necessarily accessing its language directly.
This stands to reason that when you grow up in a city like Cape Coast, it is inevitable to learn the glances, gestures and little changes in voice or tone and other communication tools to emphasize or alter what you want to do or say. But, when you are born a fante, bred a fante, live in no mean a place like the ancient capital, Cape Coast, you cannot afford to disappoint your heritage and who you are! Simply put, you cannot disappoint the breast that made you are man or a woman.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a challenge with being a fante and going to other geographical settings to learn and use their language.
But, there is a growing trend in Cape Coast that ought to be scorned and mocked at until it is annihilated. When you wake up early in the morning and switch on your radio, you expect to listen to an impeccable twi speaker or a fante speaker on radio using the language they are conversant in to deliver their messages to their audience. No, that is not like that in Cape Coast. The audience is fed with poison by some of the presenters.
Instead of being met with the narrative above, you will hear an irritating, ‘by force, twi coming from people who are indigenous fantes. Not that such persons are fantes but were raised elsewhere and have acquired the twi somewhere but such persons, hail from Cape Coast or any other fante community, went to school in the same community and in fact, some of them, are yet to step foot anywhere apart from the Central region.
I have religiously learned that many of the perpetrators are sports presenters and have learned from the twi sports presenters. As to why they cannot present the sports and other programs on radio in fante, beats the imagination of even a child who has just started learning how to eat ‘Mfantse dokon’ (Fante Kenkey).
Perhaps, it is not only on radio in Cape Coast, you are greeted with this ‘by force’ twi but what I have learnt depressingly is that when the children of fantes go to school, especially, at the Secondary and Tertiary levels, by the time they return from the first semester break, they have already been indoctrinated (I don’t know who does that. It could be self-inflicted).
A study done by some linguists reveals that there are different dialects used by Fante speakers in the Western and Central Regions, but they can be understood among the various speakers. The people of Agona Swedru, Cape Coast, Saltpond, Enyan, Gomoa, Elmina, Shama, Abuesi, and Sekondi-Takoradi, all have their unique Fante dialects. However, a Standardized Fante is taught in all basic schools in the above-mentioned communities.
The fante language is one romantic language that appeals to many people from outside Cape Coast and other fante communities? In the same way, the MP for Ningo Prampram would proudly query, “you kill a man in his own house?” I also dare ask, why do you speak another’s language in your own land?
The writer, Richard Kwadwo Nyarko is a journalist with the Multimedia Group. His email: email@example.com. Tweet: @quajo2009