Sunday, October 18, 2015

International Mother Language Day 2015 in Africa

Poster for IMLD 2015
Yes, the 16th annual International Mother Language Day was observed several months ago (21 February), but it's still worth highlighting a few of the IMLD 2015 events and articles in Africa. In the absence (as far as I've seen) of any comprehensive summary of IMLD activities on the continent, perhaps this can serve as a small way of facilitating exchange of information about the different kinds of activities that governments, NGOs, and universities have organized. (It's only 4 months until the next observance, by the way.)

The below list is only a selection, and not in any way comprehensive. A note about this posting is included at the end.



"Culture Minister Calls Angolans for Natural Coexistence of Mother Tongues" (the Culture Minister, Rosa Cruz e Silva, called attention to the plurilingual nature of Angolan society. Theme of IMLD there was "United in the linguistic and cultural diversity in Angola, let's valorize our integrity")




"16ème journée internationale de la langue maternelle : Pour une éducation inclusive à travers et par la langue" (summary of observance in Kétou commune, which featured several government officials including the minister of culture, as well as the Nigerian ambassador)


"La Journée Internationale de la Langue Maternelle - Le 21 février 2015" (Ceremony at the Ministère de l’Éducation de Base in Yaoundé, including young students who were taking part in experimental bilingual classes of a project of ELAN-Afrique)

Congo (DRC):

"Le ministre de la Culture et des Arts Banza Mulakaly s’investit dans la promotion des langues maternelles" (the minister of Culture and Arts spoke at a ceremony organized by the Observatoire des langues)

From "International Mother Language Day 2015 Celebrations" compilation  (Shalom University of Bunia planned two half-day conferences with activities including presentations from eleven researchers involved with the region’s languages and speeches from academics and public officials about the value of the mother tongue.)



"Ghana joins the world to celebrate International Mother Language Day" (observance at University of Education, Winneba, Ajumako Campus, featuring a talk by Dr. Avea Ephraim Nosh; alternate link here)

"EDUCATION: UEW students mark Int’l Mother Language Day" [website now offline] (another story on the above event, mentioning contributions to the discussion by Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah, Prof. Samuel Asiedu Addo, and Mr. Samuel Donkoh)

"Radio broadcast in Akan, by Peter Essien" (calls for the same amount of attention to using Akan correctly on the air as is given to using English correctly)

"How Bible saved 8 Ghanaian languages" (highlights discussion by Rev. Erasmus Odonkor that translations of the Bible have played a key role in maintaining vitality of and literacy in several Ghanaian languages)

"Government urged to revive minority languages" (very brief item on observance in Accra in which experts called for language policy to promote mother tongue education for minority languages)


"International Mother Language Day: How well do you know your mother tongue?" (TV feature on IMLD including visit to classroom and interviews with people in the street)

"UoN Hosts International Mother Language Day" (a 2-day event hosted by University of Nairobi and co-organized by the Dept. of Linguistics and Languages, UNESCO, and an organization called Bible Translation and Literacy)


"Tenin-dreny - La langue maternelle importe pour l'éducation" (highlights role of first lady Voahangy Rajaonarimampianina, the ministers of l'Artisanat, de la Culture et du Patrimoine [Brigitte Rasamoelina] and of Communication [Vonison Andrianjato] in the observance, which included, the awarding of the "Fantaro" prize; mention also of other events) 



"Langues maternelles : UN LEVIER PRIVILEGIE POUR L’INTEGRATION SOCIALE" (Observance in Ouelessebougou, organized by l'Académie malienne des langues [AMALAN] and presided over by minister of education Kénékouo "Barthélemy" Togo)



"Chinamibia celebrates International Mother Language day" (Children of Namibia - ChiNamibia - and the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre held an event including dance, drama, music, and poetry that was intended to highlight the importance of mother tongues)



"NICO Supports International Mother Language Day Celebration 2015" (article on the National Institute for Cultural Orientation site about planning for a later observance of IMLD)

"Nwaozor - The Significance of Mother Tongue" (newspaper op-ed on IMLD in which the author discusses the importance of first languages and makes some policy recommendations)



"International Mother Language Day – Discovering poetry in Seychelles" (Seychelles Writers’ Association, known locally as " Lardwaz" held a short ceremony on IMLD, in which they revealed their proposed calendar for 2015)




"International Mother Language Day marked in Mogadishu" (the president of Djibouti and government representatives from Ethiopia and Kenya joined the observance in Mogadishu; article also mentions laying the cornerstone of the Somali Language Academy, about which more here)

South Africa:

"Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi observes International Mother Language Day, 21 Feb" (scheduled meeting with "future language practitioners" at University of Limpopo, Turf loop Campus, in Mankweng, Limpopo Province)


"International Mother Language Day 2015" (blog posting by a Welsh person working in Tanzania, making connection between most children not speaking at home a language other than the Swahili used in school, and their lower scores in Standard 3 exams than native Swahili speakers)


From "International Mother Language Day 2015 Celebrations" compilation (Literacy and Adult Basic Education [LABE], a local NGO, planned language activities including reading and storytelling competitions in 6 post-conflict districts of northern Uganda)


"Celebrate International Mother Language Day" (about preparations for celebrating IMLD by the San people in Tsholotsho)

Notes about this post & holding reserve posts

I actually started this post just after IMLD in February, but put it aside to focus on some other items. I added to it on a couple of occasions, and ultimately decided it was time to finish and publish.

As such this is a special case in an aspect of blogging I discovered over the years - having a number of drafts in the cooker, as it were. Some of those eventually I return to and complete more or less as planned, some change, and for others, the material in the draft might get repurposed. In this case, there was an obvious time limit on material related to an annual event (yours to decide if it already passed a more functional limit of utility). It turned out as intended, except that there was a second section to the original draft of this post that ultimately was not necessary, but that I may use later.

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