After attending the official launch of Katondoozi (Thesaurus) of Runyankore-Rukiga at Serena Hotel on November, 7 ,2012 co-authored by President Museveni, Prof MJK Muranga, Alice.N Muhoozi and G.Gumoshabe, I was compelled to write this article. I bought the book at Shs50,000 and read it dearly. According to me, this book is an interesting initiative.
The Runyankore language is the container of morals, knowledge and wisdom from the ancient times, a gift that we must bequeath to our children as our ancestors bequeathed it to us. It is the glue that sticks together all the ethnic groups in the Nkore region and real development is impossible without it.
According to Dr. Mulumba Bwanika Mathias, a lecturer at the Department of Humanities & Language Education in the School of Education, College of Education & External Studies at Makerere University, Uganda’s local languages are to be scrapped in the Proposed Ordinary Secondary Level Curriculum (Senior One – Four). The proposal singles out English and Kiswahili as compulsory languages, in addition to French, Arabic and Chinese as optional languages.
Local languages are a key aspect of our culture. Through our local languages, learners gain access to the oral and literary heritage of their people and in addition, develop their appreciation of, and gain insights into different cultures.
The above second and foreign languages do not help us gain insight in to our culture.
President Museveni should allow the Ankole cultural institution to officially function. He should allow us to coronate our King (Charles Aryaija Rwebishengye) so that he can carry out the role of rejuvenating the Ankole culture including the Runyankore language.
I believe that the Ankole cultural leader can help the Banyankole community to respond to modern challenges. For instance, he can be involved as an arbitrator in case of conflict and civil strife; in seeking alternative justice resolution; and in tackling cultural rights issues related to HIV/AIDS, orphan care, and girl child education.
He can supplement the increasingly discredited local councils in mobilising community action to maintain wells, roads and to support the very poor at critical times.
Without a distinct cultural identity, the Banyankore culture will easily be subsumed by more dominant cultures and lose an opportunity to demand that their unique culture take the place it deserves, nationally and in the global village.