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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Preservation of Indigenous Languages in Africa

By Anne Mugisa

President Yoweri Museveni has asked teachers and language developers in Uganda to preserve and promote local languages as a means of knowledge storage.

The President said that Africans are finding themselves out of depth because they have relegated their mother tongues in preference to western languages which are not as rich as African languages.

Museveni was speaking at the launch of the Runyankore/Rukiga Thesaurus which he co-authored with three other people, who included, University Professor, Emmanuel Muranga, Alice Nakinkunda Muhoozi and Gilbert Gumoshabe. The Thesaurus translated as Katondoozi took almost 10 years to complete and has 22,000 words. It was published by Fountain Publishers.

The launch took place at the Kampala, Serena Hotel and was graced by Judges, diplomats, academics, politicians and other Ugandans.

The president said that he decided to write the Thesaurus because he was afraid the rich indigenous languages were dying out. He explained that for example, the Banyankore had their writing similar to the Egyptian hieroglyphics which was relegated to decorations.

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