Localisation Of The National Anthem
Esteemed Ziliro Mchulu
Mzuzu University, Malawi.
Language is a vehicle of culture and everybody understands oneself in his or her local language meaning some if not all cultural related stuffs should be expressed in our vernacular in a bid to give us the true taste of our culture. However, one language element that has been overlooked for centuries is the fact that we have instilled in our children a national identity that runs away from their setting. Our children know their national identity and pride in a foreign language: English. Our children sing the Malawi national anthem in English since time in memorial a thing that has to stop if we are to instil national consciousness.
A national anthem is a patriotic song or musical composition that is either recognized officially by a nation’s government and constitution or is accepted as such by convention through popular use. A national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation’s government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.
The national anthem, like other national symbols of a country, represents the tradition, history, and beliefs of a nation and its people. Hence, it helps evoke feelings of patriotism among the country’s citizens and reminds them of their nation’s glory, beauty, and rich heritage. It helps to bring the feeling of identification and it brings one to the taste of belonging to a country. It also helps unite the citizens of the country by one single song or music. During the performance of the national anthem, citizens of a nation, despite their ethnic differences, rise up in unison and listen attentively or sing the song with great enthusiasm. As the local song starts ‘ mlungu dalitsani malawi’ it means we all join in asking God for a better Malawi regardless of culture, tribe and region. The songs brings our spirits together to sing as one.
Our local languages should drive us to the national goals. We should not be in an alien environment when singing the national anthem. Singing the national anthem in English is not only debauched but also a neo colonialism ascent whereby we continue to see ourselves including our languages as inferior. By allowing our learners to sing it in English it means we are telling them to view their languages as not well to do. It means we are reinforcing in our children that the best way to express yourself is in English and not Chichewa, Tumbuka, sena , chaingonde , Tonga , Yawo , Lambya , Lomwe and all other local language. a national anthem is a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people. All the tags above show the need to get the national anthem in one’s language. In remembering our history in the national anthem we don’t need to get it on other people’s language, we need to get it straight without thinking outside our thinking frame.
We don’t have to express ourselves in English, we don’t need to express our nation love in a white men’s language. Learners should sing the song in the vernacular of the vernacular majority. For example in Mzuzu many people speak Tumbuka and it can sound colourful if it is sang in Tumbuka. The language of the majority should be used to sing the national anthem. One may argue that it will promote tribalism but the song cannot. What matters is the message of the song. “mlungu dalisani Malawi”, this phrase will remove the spectrum of regionalism or tribalism because we will all sing for Malawi. If you sing “Chiuta mtumbikani Malawi” it will not make you see Tumbuka as the best but it will help you understand that you are a Malawian first.
If we don’t change this act our country will continue to produce people who don’t appreciate their languages. Let’s continue to learn English because it has numerous benefits in the global village, but this should not make us imprudent to the extent that we parade our national identity in it. The best way to begin is to begin and the change for the value of our local languages starts now, it begins with you. Let’s localise the National anthem.