Kwéyòl In Schools

Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Independent Eye by Kensley Peter Charlemange

EVERY 14 days, the world loses one language, if I have to believe what I see on the Internet. I am of the belief that if things continue as they are, Saint Lucia will eventually lose its kwéyôl- speaking tradition.

As the debate rages on, I continue to do my research and I am getting a lot of backing for my hypothesis, much of which I will not share in this article. Be sure, though, that I will present them on October 19 when I present ArtScape at the Alliance Francaise, under the theme “KwéyôlanLékolNou: What are we waiting for?”

As you may have deciphered, we will be advocating for the teaching of kwéyòl in our schools. There are some who are of the persuasion that losing our kwéyòl language can never happen but we have Grenada and Trinidad as neighbouring examples. I must confess, it is not an imminent threat but to avert the loss, we must take action now.

The Folk Research Centre (FRC) can glorify the fact it has held Kwéyòl Day for over three decades now but that is not enough to save the language. A more reflective factor is the number of people who subscribe to kwéyòl writing classes that the FRC offers. There are many kwéyòl writing class initiatives that have started throughout the islands but how many of them have continued to this day.

Learning to write the language will not save it, either. It’s like people who say I can understand the kwéyòl but I can’t speak it. And may I dare say that being able to understand kwéyòl when it is spoken is not enough to save it?

Should I consider Lucian Kuduro music as we celebrate Creole Heritage Month? Given the era in which we live, the truth is that there is no way you cannot. At a musical event which recently took place here, in the name of kwéyòl heritage, my understanding is that the patrons were booing a foreign band steeped in its kwéyòl tradition and were asking for their Dennery Segment instead.

Some have criticized me for my write-ups on Lucian Kuduro music but I continue to say that it appeals to the decadent nature of our society and if we have not sung something raunchy or degrading to women, then we have not sung as yet. There is something infectious about Lucian Kuduro. The music is going somewhere. We cannot ignore it but I believe that art must uplift the human standard and so I put out a challenge to our kuduro artists to put a song to the theme for our next ArtScape – “KwéyòlanLékòlNou”: What are we waiting for?”

Will they take up the challenge, I wish they would.

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