A section of Banyoro has raised a red flag over the diminishing written Runyoro language.
Speaking to Kazi-njema News, Mr Tegurasi Monday, a resident of Kinubi Cell in Mparo Division, Hoima Municipality observes that majority of young Banyoro neither know how write nor to read Runyoro.
He is concerned that despite government introducing thematic curriculum requiring pupils from primary one to primary four to be taught in their mother languages, the programme has failed to take off chiefly in private schools.
Mr Monday says that such an inclination has done a disservice to the young generation that continues being ignorant about their mother tongue, hence, perpetuating the destruction of Runyoro language.
“Let Banyoro write Runyoro with assistance from the current books available in Runyoro/Rutooro while communicating among themselves. With the help of the Runyoro/Rutooro Orthography and grammar books, they can buttress the language both in writing and reading,” he says.
“Good enough, government has come up with thematic curriculum where it is encouraging teaching in local languages from Primary One to Primary Four. So, we should use that chance now to avoid speaking a foreign language while killing ours. However, private schools haven’t heeded to government’s call to teach the little children in their mother tongues,” he adds.
Mr Keefa Ayesiga, a resident of Kyakakoizi Village in Kitoba Sub-county, Hoima District says he has on several occasions witnessed people reading scriptures wrongly during church service.
He blames the government for being indifferent to enforcing the teaching of local language in schools for pupils to comprehend different things in their mother tongue.
Mr Ayesiga says that the only would be reliable book-the Bible that is written in Runyoro/Rutooro is also almost no longer read since many people now prefer reading bibles written in English to those written in the local tongue.
“One time, when told to read a scripture about clean and unclean animals as recorded in the Old Testament from a Runyoro/Rutooro bible, a woman read the word “ekyasize” (a split) as “ekya-size”- with “size “meaning dimension!” He wonders.
Adding: “Many children nowadays know things in English and not Runyoro. They count in English not Runyoro. This is dangerous to society and needs urgent action or before the language dies off.”
Mr Ayesiga also says that it is hard to find Runyoro literature books on bookshop shelves unlike in the past when they were plentiful and at any one’s first sight exposure.
“Books like Ha kyoto omu kairirizi, Rurondooka, Ija osome ha manzi, Ha munwa gw’ekituuro among others can’t be traced in our bookshops. We happened to have history books written in Runyoro/Rutooro like one about Sir Samuel Baker in Bunyoro. Although some of us want to buy them for our children, we can’t get them anywhere,” he continues.
The Omutalindwa (Speaker) of the Parliament of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, Mr Isaac Kalembe, says that a committee on culture was set up to keep Bunyoro’s cultural norms and language live. He urges Banyoro to develop their language through writing while communicating to each other.
He says a cabinet meeting sat on Saturday at Rukurato Hall (Chambers) in Hoima town and discussed the matter to ensure that Runyoro language is promoted and saved from infiltration.
“You have to write to your father, mother, brother, friend or neighbour in Runyoro. It would also not be bad if you wrote to a Caucasian in Runyoro thereafter he asks you what the word means and you tell them the meaning. When will they learn it? Therefore, we expect a lot from this Committee on Culture. It is the pillar of our kingdom,” he says.
“When writing an honorific (praise name or pet name) Adyeri and you include double e, Atwoki you include double o, what does that mean? If you- a Munyoro – the owner of the praise name do not know how to write it, do you expect a Muganda, a Langi, Iteso or Caucasian to be knowing it? We are the authorities. Let us use and know how to write our praise names,” the Omutalindwa adds.