February 27, 2024

Lango Chief asks stakeholders to promote native language upskill as part of cultural heritage

By Denis Okello (denis.okello@vol.co.ug)

Lira

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 is 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 a modern person is wrong.’ He said.

Odongo Okune says language is an inseperable part of the culture and very vital part of human lives which is a unique human gift from God and allows people to have a sense of identity and communication.

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

He notes with concern the common practice in this regime when most people including all types of leaders like religious, political and cultural who cannot sustain a discussion without punctuating in 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..”He was quoted

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

He further stated that English may appear to be the most important language in the world because it can make you fly around, but at the end of the day, a language is for communicating with your close friends and relatives and that is what your mother tongue is for.

Citing the developed world where every 26th 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, This he says 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 21st February created by the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multi lingualism.

Okune however advised a number of approaches to address the challenges posed by technological advancements like the interent 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.