Are African languages important?

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Sep 8 12:33:08 UTC 2006

Are African languages important?

African languages like Swahili, Yoruba and Somali are now available to
read on the internet based encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.
The website aims to give every single person an encyclopaedia in their own
language no matter how rare and features everything from recipes to

But Wikipedia is dominated by articles written in English for which there
are over one million entries. Compare that to African languages where
there are just a handful of entries. Swahili is the most widely spoken
African language available in text on the net, but in general the presence
of African languages is dismal compared to languages spoken in the West.
How important is it to be able to read, write and speak an African
language? Is English now the most important language in the world? Should
people in the developing world still be taught local languages and are
they useful for everyday life?


In my personal opinion I believe that there is no language that is better
than others. And because some languages do not have a written form that
does not mean that is not a legitimate language.On the contrary, this what
it is prove of legitimacy. That these languages has being around and
survive for a long time and their are here to stay. Is the English
language the most important in the world today? Hell NO. Not because a
certain particular group of people are trying to make the English language
a global language, this does not make it any better or the most important
language on this world. This is like saying that whites are better than
blacks. Why should all indigenous languages on earth being taken off from
this planet? And then replaced by the English language? Is not this a form
of genocide too?.
Nathaniel Robinson, San Diego, California

Should this question be asked, I really would like to know why this
question should arise. Looking at it most countries in europe and Asia
don't speak English and majority of African countries speak English and
are better at it than most European and Asian countries. If I should
really comment on this question I think it boils down to the level of
education in a particular country. About 90% of African education is
thought in English it is very difficult to find an African country that
doesn't speak English which could be traced to the colonial era. Moreover
it is assumed that if you cant speak English you are not educated
therefore the issue of translating the Encyclopedia and most articles into
African languages to me is a let down. This is so because only an educated
person can read, write and speak any language including English. The same
educated persons are computer literate and make use of the internet in any
language he or she understands, mind you, depending on their ability to
speak and understand! So tell me what difference does it make translating
articles to African languages?
Eke Alexander, Sweden.

Language easily brings about acceptance and appreciation which earns one
an advantage.The more languages one speaks, reads or writes the better and
more advantage he or she would have in this global village of ours. As a
Gambian I can go to Senegal,Guinea Bissau, Mali,Guinea Conakry and Sierra
Leone and use the local languages like Wollof, Creole, Mandinka, Pularr,
Krio in addition to my English and little French to survive. One becomes
happier when he or she knows you can talk to him or her in his or her
mother tongue. Let's embrace our African languages and work adopting some
of them like Swahili, as our official language.
Betsney Gomes, Gambia

Language is an integral part of our history and culture. The different
African languages show how diverse we are as a people. Retaining our
different languages and cultures gives us the feeling that we have not
completely lost our identity to colonialism and the slave trade.
Oyin Oyatoye, Nigeria

I fail to understand what your question aims to achieve, apart from
patronising Africans. I dare you to pose the same question to the English.
S. K. Omar,

In my personal opinion is that I believe that all languages are important.
Just because some languages do not have a written form that does not mean
that is not a legitimate language. In the contrary,that proves it's
legitimacy. Those languages have being around and survived for a long time
and their are here to stay. Is English the most important language in the
world today? Hell NO!! Just because a certain particular group of people
are trying to make the English language a global language, this does not
make it the any better or the most important language on this world. This
is like saying that whites are better than blacks. Why shouldn't all
indigenous languages on Earth be taken taken as seriously as the English
language? Eradicating them would be a form of genocide!Nathaniel Robinson
San Diego, California

Language is one of the factors that helps to create a sense of strong
cultural identity and a sense of belonging to a society. In the current
debate and strong search for answers on the causes of our economic
under-development, the contribution or the lack of it of language should
be one of the areas for exploration. I have always maintain that the use
of one's language enhances the development and articulation of ideas
specially for economic development. The rapid education and economic rise
in the Far Eastern and Indian sub-continent there is a strong evident that
one's own language can contribute in development. As a Fula or Fulani one
of the most widespread tribe in West Africa, the development of our
language or any other language in West Africa as a recognised language of
communication would make a big impact to our economic development. Unlike
Asian leaders our African leaders are busy enriching themselves rather
than re-addressing the ills of colonialism that belittle the continent. In
some African societies such as the Francophone countries, the desire to
behave and talk like their ex-colonial masters has overshadowed their
pride in themselves and their cultures so much so that, they speak and
behave like french. A big shame on us all as Africans. Let us all start
searching within ourselves and start rediscovering our cultures, heritage
and values and be proud of them.
Musa Bah, UK

For me life will never be complete without language in the written or
spoken form. Anyone who cherishes his language be it African or otherwise
must be able to read, speak and write such language. Whether English is
the most important language in the world depends on the situation and
circumstance in which it is viewed. I think local languages should be
taught to people as the society cannot function very well without its
language.Language is the people.
Isidore Nwachukwu, Linkoping, Sweden.

Variety is the spice of life as they say. I think it is very important to
allow African languages to be sustained and developed. In the English
speaking West, we are guilty of expecting everyone else to do the work.
Jamaican Tusiwe wavivu, tuanze kujifunza lugha nyingine.
Stephen Gamble, Glasgow, UK

African languages are important because the social, political and economic
development of the vast majority of the people of Africa depend on the
proper and systematic use of their indigenous languages. Moreover, failure
or refusal to use African languages in many domains adversely affects the
African's human and people's rights in general. These include their right
to quality education, to good health, to fair trial, to economic justice,
to access to information, to freedom of expression, etc.
Professor Lazarus Miti, South Africa

I think African languages are for Africans while Western languages are for
everybody. If you are to work in France you have to know French but a
French man can work in Africa without knowing an African language
Hankie Uluko Lilongwe, Malawi

Language is a part of man's national identity. As a British / Nigerian I
am very proud of my African heritage and express myself in Yoruba with
pride. My children are British born and speak English as a first language
but are equally fluent in Yoruba.
Adewale Adebanjo, London, UK

Of the four languages I am very familiar with, Yoruba, English, French and
Dutch. Only the African language (Yoruba) does not discriminate between
genders. Same word for expressions for male and female, unlike English for
example, she, he . Who should then teach who gender equality?
A Olalekan, South Africa

English in my opinion is the most widely spoken language in the world, but
the most important language for me is that with which I can speak to my
mother, my father, my grand-parents without having to bother if I was
making the right sense. This language is Igbo. You can have your own view,
but mine is mine.
Chidi Nwamadi, Toulouse, France

I look language as a dress to thought. One can decide which dress to wear
at what time. In this world of globalisation, undoubtedly every body is
forced to learn international common Languages like English, French etc.,
for better survival. Irrespective of its present day importance, any
Language that is alive with the people is always precious to us. Each
generation has a duty to ensure the maintenance, improvement and pass on
it to the next generation
Manasalekhini, Congo

Are African languages important? Are European languages important? Are
Americas languages important? Are Asian languages important? Are
Australia\New Zealand languages important?
Lloyds, Kitwe, Zambia

I believe that every language is important, no matter how many people use
it. In the sense that each language represents a whole new world to
discover. Just because English is the most spoken language of world it
doesn't mean that it is the most important one. People in the developing
world should continue to learn their local languages because if they don't
they will lose their culture and identities. These languages are useful
for their everyday life just like Portuguese is useful for my everyday
life. People should learn other languages too besides their own, but they
should never let their mother language die.
Mrcia Cordeiro Guerreiro Lisbon, Portugal

African languages are very important because not everybody can speak all
this foreign languages. It's our mother tongue, do you know that there are
people who can express themselves better in African language, than English
and the rest western languages. An example is the Pigeon English widely
spoken in Nigeria one can see that most people that speak Pigeon English
are not really graduate. Lastly English itself is the mother tongue of the
UK people so that is why they have that development, so we African should
be allowed to speak our mother tongue
Dayo Objurgate Abuja, Nigeria

The other day we were travelling to our home town and group people were
distributing magazines written in our dialect it was shared among us,could
you believe me that some folks found them very difficult to read out the
massages despite the language was compulsory in school. It's easier to
speak but hard to read and write.
Plato Owulezi Nigeria

When broadcasting news on radio in Africa (FM or SW), local languages are
an essential element for credibility. Languages also bring a sentiment of
"ownership" for the concerned audiences.
Darcy Christen, Lausanne Switzerland

The question should be "How important are the African languages?" Because
a language is a mean of communication for any particular community,
therefore African languages are the key for African success in everything!
Specially with the failed European colonisation of Africa, where only 10%
of the population speaks and understand correctly languages spoken by
white people. I was a teacher in my country Guinea-Bissau, and I remember
when I asked a question to my student in Portuguese it take them forever
to give the answer, but when I asked the same question in Creole, I got
the answer in fraction of second! That's the evidence that,they are not
dumb, but they do have problems mastering European languages. I strongly
believe we in Africa should do everything possible to teach our people in
our own language. It will be easier for them to learn anything and to
master it to they best. And at the same time, we still can learn the
"White peoples"languages so we can be able to communicate!I know it's
possible, because I speak five African languages and five European
Manuel Gomes, New York, USA

For centuries the Berber language or Tamazight has been neglected by the
Moroccan government and its speakers. Tamazight is an oral language and
has never had an official script. But now things are changing and people
dare to speak and write in their mother tongue, and I hope the three
Tamazight languages of Morocco will have an official status in the
Moussa Aynan, Nador, Morocco

I teach English to speakers of other languages and believe very strongly
in doing so radically. What does teaching English radically mean? To me,
it means honouring my student's native languages (and cultures) in the
classroom and creating an atmosphere in which they know and can tangibly
feel that their languages and cultures are valued and respected. As an
English teacher, it's of utmost importance to me that I emphasise my love
of languages and my belief that no one language is superior to another. I
tell my students that there are many English, and that standard English
has historically been and is indeed still a language of power politics in
the world, and therefore it is becoming increasingly important to speak
through it and add it to one's basket of languages. Because it is a
language of power politics does not mean standard English is superior.
Upon learning to speak Swahili, for example, I was able to express many
feelings and emotions that I had been previously unable to express using
standard English. All languages are beautiful and important. I find the
question of the importance of African languages highly offensive and
Sedia Macha, Greensboro, North Carolina

We are Africans and those languages are ours! it doesn't matter how useful
they are or how many people do use them, they are ours and we can't afford
letting them go! We are used to them and we live in them. They are very
important to us. Anyone can join us and learn them to harmonise the world.
Mloyi, Dar es salaam, Tanzania Our languages are us.I am African because
of my language.It connects me with my culture. Much as I need to learn
English for universal communication, I still need my African language to
keep my roots.
Mutuna Chanda Lusaka, Zambia

Languages are an integral part of man, as He communicates with it. Also,
African languages should be encouraged to spread because you cannot
extricate man from his medium of communication. It is the best way to
express our feelings.
Ashipa James Olashupo, Abuja, Nigeria

A typical African is proud of his language. African languages should be
taught in school in order to enhance the culture in Africa. Our cultures
are dying because many Africans cannot express themselves in their mother
tongue. "What a shame!" The highest tool of communication is your mother
tongue before the so-called English.
Eric Mbumbouh, Bamenda, Cameroon

Language is a link to identity, and therefore very important to the group
it's specific to, it's what sets you apart as different people. As much as
we need to keep our African languages alive, it's still important to have
a language that connects us all as part of one world.
Velma Kiome, Nairobi, Kenya

I'm from the masena tribe in Mozambique. Despite the fact that i struggle
to speak the masena language i strive to master it as it represents who I
am and gives me an identity which I am proud of. Yes to me my language is
important irrespective of what others think . One simple reason why it's
important is if I want to learn more of my cultural history and background
then i would speak to my elders in my language. And elders are an
important aspect of our African communities
Matata, Mozambique

Language is a link to identity, and therefore very important to the group
it's specific to, it's what sets you apart as a different people. As much
as we need to keep our African languages alive, it's still important to
have a language that connects us all as part of one world. English has
proliferated because of the historical positioning of the English

Language is key for any nation to develop. Facts show that countries with
significant development around the world use their own languages. Africa
tormented by colonial rule followed by civil war never had neither the
chance or time to build its language foundation. Although African
countries do not have a written language our mother tongue is a mode of
communication .Eritrea and Ethiopia serve as best examples. They use a
language based on what is known as Geez, which was the basis of its long
lost civilisation. Not until Ethiopia/Eritrea changed the language from
Geez to Amharic influenced by outsiders, that the nation began its decline
as a result of poor change over of Ethiopian numerals. It is the only
known language that uses its own set of characters, grammar, mathematical
formula, and yet its 8 step vowels hold the key to today's 8 bit digital
encoding technique!
Gedion, Charlotte, USA

I would like to participate in this programme because our mother tongues
are important. It is the cornerstone of one's identity and to forsake that
is tantamount to having no regard for one's identity.
Kwame Osei, Nottm, England

A people without their own language are lost. Yes English is widely spoken
but that surely should be an additional language. By this I mean as a
Ghanaian I can't think why I should only speak English. Humans have been
given the brain to learn and this is what Africans must do. African
language is important to us so we should learn to communicate in English
but never ever forget who we are. Are you going to ask the Chinese,
Japanese or the Russian whether their language is important somehow I
don't think so, why then the African.
Kwesi, London

I'm glad to say that we live in a diverse world. African languages have as
much validity as any other language, including English. Let our
differences thrive!
Gwilym Davies, Wrexham

While it is true that in the grand scheme of languages, Kinyarwanda may be
spoken by no more than 20 million people world wide(counting our
neighbours who can understand & perhaps speak our national language); it
is the language understood by everyone in my country. Whether you were
educated in French, English, Spanish or in whatever western language, on
this small piece of God's earth called Rwanda, everything is done in
Kinyarwanda. In this context, English may be as obscure a language as any
Florida Kabasinga, Nyamata, Rwanda

To speak African languages is just as important as our identity. To read
and write them is gaining grounds; thank God. This trend will never fall.
Right now, my grand mother is in USA just to teach my young cousins the
'bangwa' dialect.
Tendem Paul, Cameroon

Learning "in" African languages, and not just learning them, is now more
important than ever. Without "popular" education, you cannot have the
adequate number of qualified human resources in a country, which is a
condition to economic development and thus prosperity. An enlightened
citizenry is also necessary in order for the government to better
communicate with its people, enhancing in the process the political
stability and even survival of the country. Democracy is such a complex
issue that it requires educated people. This being the case, my argument
has always been that popular education cannot be achieved relying on a
foreign language with which one doesn't have any link other than the fact
that it was imposed on you. Take the example of simple computer software
like word processor or the Internet. A tutor is not needed to learn word
processor so long as you understand the language in which the computer
converses with its users. It suffices to put the cursor on an icon for it
to tell you what it will do. This gives a natural advantage to the
European child or any child learning in his own language over the African
child who must depend on a foreign language. This allows this child to
start using computers from a very young age and starts enjoying the great
benefits of electronic communications early. The African child has to wait
longer to have a good knowledge of the language before doing likewise.
Issaka Souar, Montreal, Canada

My mother tongue Kinyarwanda is most comfortable language in my mouth. I
now speak it on the phone since I am away from my home country. I can't
miss listening to Kirundi and Kinyarwanda program on BBC every day at
17:30 GMT and the same on VOA at 05:00 GMT, reading news over the net in
my language is the best moment, so I can say that African languages are
very important.
Arnaud Emmanuel Ntirenganya, Cameroon

African languages are very important because it is our identity. English
may be more important to learn and speak but African languages are more
important as it differentiates us from other nations. It doesn't matter if
the languages are on net but they play a very important role in the
AFRICAN SOCIETY. Long live African Languages!. Rhodah
Rhodah Mashavave, Germany

All languages are equally important. Local languages need to be taught in
developing countries as well. African languages are indeed a base for
identity. Following the colonisation of most African countries by the
white man it is imperative to exhibit togetherness via African languages.
When the whole of Europe is playing the EU symphony, we as Africans must
also try to be proud of our languages.
Vincent Kwanza, Zambia

I can not speak or understand my language, sad it feels but, I am still
learning it.
Jamal, London, UK

Local language is a kind of repository of what is important to a culture
or society. That's why it is vital they survive. One of the sad things is
that the internet has become so English dominated - it is an ideal place
for smaller local languages to make their voices heard. I am learning
Esperanto. I do not think it is right that one language dominates all
others. English is the language of our oppressors (the Romans, the Anglos
and the Saxons) but it is the language that reflects our culture, values
and expectations. English has only become the most important language
because it has been allowed to be.
Hlz, Glasgow, Scotland

People living in the African nation must acknowledge the importance of
their languages. We need to preserve our heritage and values as it's our
root and identity. Teaching of the language should be a priority to the
Government from Primary to University level not only in Africa but in
African communities all over the world.
Tunde Onibode, Lagos Nigeria

In Cameroon we have almost 300 different languages beside English and
French which are our official language. I am proud to able to read and
write both English and French. I don't deem it necessary to learn to learn
or know any other language because they cant help me in any way.
Aaron Anye, Johannesburg

As a British Ghanaian you rarely here of many other languages other than
the most dominant ones. It would be a benefit to the nation to understand
more dynamics of other languages. Many Brits think that Africans all speak
the same language or think that the tongue is a series of vocal clicks and
noises. i think its also sad that in many places like Ghana, English is
still considered to be the first language, if this was imposed on a
western country, the people would be in uproar.
Kofi Ahiekpor United Kingdom

Africa is the continent that has most been deprived of its own identity
through Europeans. During colonialism, local languages were branded
primitive and retrogressive and consequently discouraged from being taught
in schools. Particularly under the French system of direct rule, local
languages were destroyed leading to a first generation of African elites
who sold out themselves to European cultures and values. However, some
languages like Swahili, Lingala, Yuroba and Hausa have asserted themselves
and need to be encouraged. Through them Africa will at least be able to
maintain some of its cultural heritage and identity, and gain some of the
self-confidence it needs to move forwards.
Musa, Frankfurt

African languages are very important in many ways. It is clear that
teaching in local languages usually convey clearer messages and
understanding than foreign languages. As language gives a link to culture
and social life , indigenous language would continue to be very important.
We can still learn foreign language in order to help us in linking with
outside world. We should not forget that language is also people's
identity and window to their tradition.
Adigun Olosun, Ostbevern, Germany

Languages just confuse people after all we are all Africans!!!
Gady Mwamba Museka, Lusaka, Zambia

With over 2,000 languages in Africa, it is very important to speak, read
and write in our African languages. Everything can be taken away, but not
our languages. Our culture and identity lie in them. Most Ugandans who
have finished school remember the punishments for speaking what would be
called "vernacular" at school. Though this was helpful because for most
jobs now, ability to write and speak English is a requirement. However,
most of us who have learned other language(s) find it very difficult to
express what we want to communicate in a foreign language. Today, the
language policy in Uganda advocates for teaching in local languages in the
first four years of primary education as well as adult basic education.
Though it would take years for people to appreciate speaking, writing and
reading their mother tongue due to the present employment situation in
Africa it's highly unlikely but it is still worth a try.
Prossy Nannyombi, Entebbe, Uganda.

One must learn to move with their own foot before driving a car or
anything that can move fast. An African without an African language is
like an amputated man who depends only on a wheelchair or a car to move
M. Chille, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

It is significant to be able to read and write in African Languages. If
you are born in Africa, the language is your mother tongue and is your
foundation. To learn to speak and write in English should come secondly.
Taiwo, London

Most Europeans are born speaking their native languages but still have to
learn languages for at least 12 years at school to be able to communicate
effectively in these languages. Most Africans have the disadvantage of
having to compete with the rest of the world in a foreign language.
Mourice Akuku, Aac

Learning African Languages is still very important for two main reasons.
It is a language which they should identify themselves with, by which I
mean that these languages are part of their Identity. In some countries
these languages are official working languages of the respective
countries, the one I know is the Ethiopian Amharic which is the official
language of the country. It is an ancient well developed language which
has got its own alphabets. Therefore learning African local languages
should be a must not a choice .
Abakoster, Dubai

Imagine as a Westerner marrying a rural Ethiopian lady, illiterate, and
with not one word in common. She is even still unable to communicate in
the language spoken in the capital, Addis Ababa. Three years on her
English is sufficient for all our needs, thank God. What has bothered us
most is the gross lack of basic vocabulary found in both English/Oromo
dictionaries which I've bought. So far the internet has been of no value.
I've been partly untruthful in the above and on reflection knew toko, lama
(one, two) in her language on the day of our marriage.
Yusuf Tahir, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Language is an essential part of any culture. It has a huge social impact
on people. Hence, it is important that Africans develop their local
languages. In the contemporary world, it has become a rewarding advantage
to be bi-lingual. As much as English has become probably the most
important world language so should an African's language be to them.
Native languages should be taught and learnt in schools. It should be
Bernard Oniwe, Columbia, SC, USA

Are African languages important? Of course, it like English which are
spoken in the world , so they are to be taught in all African schools like
others languages that are taught in the school. And it is a must for
African children to speak and write their own languages before they start
English. A good example is Swahili in Kenya were students must take
Swahili as compulsory or mandatory. And thanks.
Gabriel Miabek, Charlotte, NC, in USA.

Wow! what a racist discussion topic! and such a convenient one for such a
large medium controlled by the bourgeois class of a colonial/imperial
power to choose. should this even be a topic of discussion?
Anonymous A New York

Any language is important, including African languages. I get so upset
that nowadays American schools just focus on Spanish, and very few in
French. People need to look beyond the European languages. I would love to
learn Zulu.
Megan De Perro, Niagara

Seeing as there are roughly 7,000 languages, of which about 30% are
African I find it highly unlikely any source such as Wikipedia thinks it
can give "every single person" their own encyclopaedia. Saying that, if
any language, African or not, is important for communicating with another
culture, it should be taught. On the other hand, countries that only teach
the indigenous language(s), regardless of their usefulness in the world,
are condemning themselves to obscurity and possible extinction. Most of
the Africans that I grew up with speak at least 2 or 3 languages, . I find
this very admirable.
Jeff Requadt, Tucson, USA

In the East and part of Central Africa, Swahili is a relevant and unifying
language for all people of the region, it gives every speaker the feeling
of affiliation without questioning religion, ethnicity or colour. The
language gives the feeling of a nation transcending political boundaries.
But in places like Nigeria where there are many dialects African language
has evolved to become the threshold of hatred among different ethnic
groups which has created isolation . The good news is that a new "African"
language with English vocabulary is emerging and we have high hopes that
Pidgin English continues to grow into a properly recognised West African
James Ololo, Brussels, Belgium

African languages should be taught in schools because it's one part of the
culture that can be preserved. African parents should make it a point to
teach the language to the kids regardless of where they are born.
Ouborr Kutando, Ghana

Not long ago Latin and Greek were very important languages. The key to
importance of a particular language is economic and civil development. I
believe that major African Languages especially that of tribes(nations)
with strong economic potential will be very important in the near future.
I believe that United Nation Headquarters will relocate from New York to
Abuja Nigeria this century. US influence will greatly diminish while that
of China, India, Nigeria and South Africa will increase. As soon as
economic development of key African countries is attained, people will
scramble to write and read African languages.
Steve Dibia, New Orleans, USA

It depends on what they are going to be for. If for communication across
tribal/national frontiers, then they are utterly useless -and obviously
so. If for the preservation of some cultural heritage, then we probably
need them - though I'm not sure how we can educate the rest of the world
about, say, aspects of Tanzanian or South African culture in Swahili, when
it's not the world's lingua franca. I speak Ibibio, and only use it to
communicate with my family; it doesn't seem to serve any other purpose at
the moment.
Akpan, United Kingdom

I prefer Swahili to other languages, but that doesn't mean i hate English
or other tongues. I feel every ones language should be given its
importance. the majority of people in developing countries don't speak
English. So its best if they start with A,B and then C. so I believe its
the best idea to put our languages first ,especially in our countries.
Eva, Arusha, Tanzania.

African Language are fantastic its makes you feel at home when you speak
it. To be taught as a subject could be a big waste of time in school
because it can't take you anywhere.
Daniel Kibaga, Nairobi/Kenya

It is very important that African people are able to read, write and speak
in their respective languages. It disgusts me that English has become so
dominant in the world. While it remains an important language, there is no
reason for other languages to be forgotten and ignored.
Elizabeth , Helena, United States

What would we have to call our own if there was nothing like a mothers
tongue to be proud of?
Abubakar Ibrahim, Accra, Ghana

Our language is our identity. If we cannot hold on to it we may as well
continue to be seen as slaves of another origin. the two widely spoken
languages in the world, French and English are colonial languages and
obviously not our identity. and so if not for anything at all, for the
purpose of self-belonging and self-ownership it is prudent to project the
African language.
Charlz Kwabena Annor, Accra, Ghana

Of course African languages are important. It has taken so long for them
to be institutionalised, used at schools and in official government
activities. Now African government should do that and teach them at
schools. Time has come to incorporate in the curriculum other African
languages as compulsory subject that will help in the goal of African
Unity and informal people to people interaction. Nkosi I Sikeleli I
Washoka, Oxford

Yes, it's absolutely important, it might not get me a job in wall street
or for that matter anywhere in the western corporate world. So what, that
is not the end of the world. But our language is our identity it is the
product of the hard work of our brilliant forefathers.
Mulugeta Ephraim, Debre Markos, Gojjam, Ethiopia

Our languages are the identity and the culture we represent. Courses of
African languages should at least be taught in schools so we can
successfully build our nations and unite our people. Abdullahi Nur
Abdullahi Nur, Columbus, OH USA

African language as a subject in schools should be made compulsory in
areas where such languages are spoken for the first few years of school.
In Nigeria Mathematics and English are compulsory up to the last year of
High school. Why not Esan language in the Esan speaking areas of Nigeria.
Same for all other African languages.
Anthony Okosun, USA

Yes. I am an Edo speaking man and I love it. Although I reside abroad, I
still speak my local language with my friends and family members when I
call home. It is very important to be able to write, read and speak ones
language fluently. It is a part of our cultural heritage and must be
preserved. My children are also learning. On the long run, I will send
them to Benin City, Nigeria for some years in order to master the language
properly. Every African society, Sons and Daughters both home and abroad
should do everything possible to preserve our mother tongue. We cannot
fold our hands and allow Western influence or English to wipe out our
cultural heritage. While English language is good, we must do everything
to preserve our local languages. God bless mama Africa.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

Story from BBC NEWS:


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