English is an opportunistic language: Rawlings

SWAKOPMUND; English is an opportunistic and intimidating language which compromised African culture, former Ghanaian president, Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings says.

“We must speak English with the integrity in our African culture. Our culture lost its integrity because of the way we educated people use English to communicate,” he remarked at a dinner in Swakopmund on Sunday evening.

He said when Africans speak the foreign English language, they must not detach it from the cultures on the continent so as to preserve such cultures here.

Rawlings then took his hat off for Nigeria, saying “Nigerian culture has something which cannot be unseated by English. Therefore, all of us must make sure we use English in a way that it does not kill our values and principles”.

“We do not detest the language, but we are trapped in it. Therefore, just use it wisely,” he added.

On a different topic, Rawlings applauded Namibia for having maintained democracy for 24 consecutive years.

“The way Namibia maintains democracy is impressive. I am convinced that you will re-teach Ghana and other African countries on how to handle democracy,” he noted.

The former Head of State was also quick to state that he is astonished by the infrastructure and human resources’ development in Namibia.

Receiving Rawlings in the region was Erongo Regional Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, who used the chance to market business opportunities in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

He informed Rawlings that Namibia is willing to partner with Ghana and other countries in areas such as fishing, agriculture, education and engineering.

“We are the biggest producer of fish, which we export to African and European countries. So, we are looking forward to meaningful twinning agreements and exchange visits to explore areas of common interest,” Mutjavikua stated.

He added that trade between African countries needs to be more active in order to grow the continental economies.

To this, Rawlings replied that his country is open to any collaborative programmes as it is just a matter of sitting down and agreeing on what should be done.

The visitor was accompanied by his wife Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and their two daughters.

They arrived in the country last week as guests of Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob.

During his five-day visit, Rawlings also attended the 90th birthday celebration of liberation struggle icon Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo at the Independence Stadium in the capital on Saturday.

He furthermore visited various enterprises in Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, where he arrived on Sunday.

Rawlings is affiliated to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Ghana.

His term of office as president of that country ran from 1993 to 2001.

The Rawlings family will be returning to Ghana this Tuesday.