- Published on Sunday, 22 July 2012 03:15
- Written by IMAN MANI
- Hits: 1204
AS the world becomes a global village cultural exchange has become the norm. Some believe this is trend is dangerous to indigenous cultures and say that learning foreign languages slows down one’s literary traits.
People who hold such beliefs are certainly not amongst the rising number of people eager to learn German at the Goethe Institut in Dar es Salaam.
Yesterday the language institute held the German Language Cultural Festival Day and Star magazine during the week discovered that Alisa Bakari a young lady who learnt German there; won a trip to Germany in recognition of her excellent performance.
In Germany for eight weeks, Alisa continued with her language studies before returning to Tanzania. Khalida Mikidadi is married and a mother of two and works at the centre. Ms Mikidadi started her German classes at the centre in April. “I decided to learn German as many of the people I work with come from Germany.
Even though they speak to me in Swahili I thought it would be good idea if I could communicate with them in their language
as well,” she said. According to Ms Mikidadi, whose duties are to make sure the premises are kept clean, who is proud of the little German she has learnt; she is now confident enough to greet people in German.
She maintains that she does lose anything from learning German. In fact she says that she is better off learning German, which uses fewer words to say the same thing in Swahili. One of her teacher’s, Alpha Parsalaw spent seven years in Germany as a primary school boy, when his father studied there.
He never thought then that his knowledge of German would secure him employment as a language teacher in Tanzania. Parsalaw had studied law in Iringa and came to Dar es Salaam for law school. For the time being he is getting a lot of satisfaction teaching German at the centre and is happy that German is gaining popularity.
Head of the Language Department at the Cultural Centre, Samuel Gogomoka says that since the centre was re-opened four years ago, more people are interested in learning German especially the youth below the age of 20. He believes that learning a second language is an investment.
He adds that through learning an additional language one is exposed to a new culture. “You become more aware of the numerous possibilities in your life. You learn about people and their cultures.
Even if you don’t end up travelling to a country where the language you have learnt is spoken you’ve gained exposure and rubbed shoulders with, and in this case Germans. I encourage Tanzanians to continue learning Swahili. Learning another language a great enrichment and. will not suppress or replace the Swahili you already know.
Instead they can tell foreigners they meet about Swahili in a language the foreigners understand,” he elaborated. It was not surprising to learn that Mr Gogomoka was part of the team that came up with this idea last year to hold a German Language Cultural Festival Day.
The annual event is an opportunity for local artistes to showcase their art to a live audience. No doubt there were songs, drama, slam poetry and dance pieces from Tanzania livened up with German amusement games, paintings, quizzes and a range of competitions.