chief Okune

TEKWARO Lango leadership is asking stakeholders to ensure that the culture is preserved and promoted for posterity by teaching the younger generation to speak and write in the Lango dialect.

Okune observes that language in general is one of the most important parts of any culture because it’s the way by which people communicate with one another, build relationships, and create a sense of community. 

“…while you are taking more pride in some other people’s languages and feeling shy about your mother tongue apparently thinking you are more a modern person which is wrong…’,he said in a rhetorical tone.

He says language is an important part of human lives and is a uniquely human gift from God which allows people to have a sense of identity, and communication, adding it is also an inseparable part of culture.

Okune implores some elites who prefer their children to embrace more of other languages including English at the expense of mother language in the mistaken belief that its modernity.

He notes with concern the common practice nowadays when most people including all types of leaders like religious, political and cultural who cannot sustain a discussion without punctuating with English.

“…gone are the days when even in schools learners were punished by teachers for speaking vernacular saying speaking English alone is not a sure yardstick of brilliance or excellence…’,the acclaimed civil engineer.

Referencing the many global bodies striving to preserve and appreciate languages, Okune says it’s laughable for any Lango person to take pride in speaking several other languages at the expense of their mother tongue.

“….English may appear to be the most important language in the world because it can make you fly around the world, but at the end of the day a language is for communicating with your close friends and relatives and that’s what your mother tongue is for…’,Okune counsels.
Citing the developed world where on every 26 September they celebrate the European Day of Languages (EDL) as a means of promoting awareness among members on the importance of languages, the Paramount Chief challenges the people of Lango to borrow a leaf for their cultural heritage.

The day was first celebrated in 2001 which has since become an annual event aimed at drawing attention to Europe’s rich linguistic and cultural diversity, which has to be encouraged and maintained but also to extend the range of languages that people learn throughout their lives.

There is also the International Mother Language Day observed every year on 21 February created by the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism
As a way forward, Okune has suggested a number of approaches to address the challenges posed by technological advancements like the interment with social media platforms including Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, as well as radios and TVs which have watered down the reading culture.

He is challenging local radio stations to customize some special programmes specifically to host elders and experts to teach the population on the Lango language.

The chief also wants scholars to write books in the local dialect and to liaise with elders considered ‘local encyclopedia share with them the rich cultural heritage the people of Lango have.

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