iROKO TV Boss, Jason Njoku Gives Receives Backlash For Choosing Foreign Languages For His Kids Over His Native Language

Many Africans especially Nigerians believe in the need to be proud of one’s heritage by knowing and representing one’s culture at any given opportunity. For co-founder and CEO of iROKO, Jason Njoku however, it isn’t necessarily so. The father-of-3 recently left many people triggered after he took to the Twitter platform to reveal that neither him nor his children know how to speak his native language, Igbo and that he is totally fine with it.

He went on to brag that he’s ensuring his children learn foreign languages, French and Mandarin. Jason tweeted:

“My children are currently learning French. Mandarin will be up next. I intend for them to develop this over the next 10 years. They can’t speak Igbo (neither can I). It’s okay. The world won’t shake from its foundations.”

Njoku received backlash for his tweets as many people believed he was ‘whitewashed’ and trying to pass on that same mentality to his children. Some Twitter users called him out for saying it’s OK that his kids can’t speak his native language yet he’s making it compulsory for them to learn other people’s languages. But some said they are his kids and he can raise them as he wants.

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Jason responded saying he was a proud Igbo man and not knowing how to speak or understand the language doesn’t make him any less of an Igbo man.

Defending his reason for not teaching his kids Igbo language, Jason stated that the world won’t shake from its foundations if they don’t know the language. He continues:

“FYI – I am proudly Igbo yet don’t speak or hear Igbo. Does that make me less Igbo? I’ve been to Igbo land maybe 4 times in the last 10 years? Does that make me less Igbo? Many speak of fatherland.

I have never met my father. Does that free me of the obligations of my ‘fathers’. I have lived and I think some would say managed in Nigeria for 9 years, No Igbo. No Yoruba, No Hausa. I don’t even speak Pidgin. But now I’m a slave. My colonial masters have brainwashed me. Okay. I accept. You are all.

My kids don’t know their English names. They are Obi, Kaego and Nnenna. But they’ll regret not learning Igbo? Do we even think anymore? I just wanted to see what the reaction was going to be. 40m+ people speak Igbo. The language is never going to die.

Please calm down now. From 13-17 I spent that time in Owerri. I attended Azara Egbelu Boys and Emmanuel College. Those Igbo brothers (and cousins) basically called me a b*stard everyday.”

SEE ALSO: MOMS SHARE: 5 Things I’m Teaching My Kids & Why

Below are some reactions to his tweets…

Dear Jason, It’s okay to teach your children whatever language you want, however the essence of identifying first with one’s heritage through language can’t be over emphasised, it plays a vital role in giving kid’s a sense of belonging especially diasporans.

Ogbonnaya @Cogb123

Good, but you and they should learn Igbo as well. Stop making excuses. If the English, French and Chinese did not preserve their language and teach them to their children and other nations via colonizations, etc., your children will not be learning these languages today.

Inthemidstofher @Inthemidstofher

Even with that, they will never be accepted among the French and Chinese, they way they will be accepted within their own home land. Foreign countries have spent eons trying to eradicate our languages, let’s not help them in the process.

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