By Onyinkwa O
You must have heard the linguistic acrobatics that some Kenyans from ‘bara’ pull whenever they are speaking Swahili to a coastal. Or those so called ‘life coaches’ or ‘motivational speakers’ on Kenyan TV who do that annoying fake American twang that they think makes them sound wise and knowledgeable. Or some of the Kenyans in the diaspora who come over for the first time and have a point to prove. Or any other individual that ignorantly imagines that an American accent is the epitome and hallmark of proficiency and flawless speech in English.
It always borders on the hilarious. But i have never heard anything as hilarious as listening to Mike Sonko’s speech at the Blue economy conference yesterday. For those of you who might have gotten lost along the way, here is a translation of some of the terms he pronounced different from how he does when not trying to prove what a good speaker of English he is. The name ‘Kinyara’ is ‘Kenyatta. The term ‘Woras’ is ‘Waters’. The term ‘Ciry’ is ‘City’. And the term ‘Hedkworas’ is ‘Headquarters’.
And if you think that we were unfortunate to have the conference in Nairobi where it had to be addressed by Sonko, then you are a pessimist who see the glass as half empty. Just think of what it would have been like to have in Kiambu and have Waititu address it! And maybe have a cheeky speechwriter insert such words as ‘Parallelogram’ and ‘lollipop’ in there! I would have advised him to pull the stunts that one of our former mayors in Kisii town back in the day used to pull whenever he was required to deliver a speech in English. He would always get involved in a road accident on his way there, and have his deputy read his speech on his behalf!