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W. Bahr el-Ghazal pushes for local languages in schools

November 18, 2015 (WAU) - South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state professors, teachers and students are advocating for introduction of local languages in schools.

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At a board meeting held Tuesday at the University Bahr el Ghazal, those in attendance argued that local languages used by the country’s main tribes be printed out in books.

Some of the languages spoken in the state are the ones that survived in books published either during the colonial times or by the Catholic church missionaries. These include, Ndogo, Luo, Balanda-Viri, Jieng, Yulu, Nbaya and Zande dialect.

Some of these languages are used in church worships and others are taught in schools.

The Commissioner for Arts and Culture, Alfred Derick Oya recently launched art and culture week in the state, which he said, would enable citizens showcase their work.

The African Writers’ Day is dedicated to pay honor to renowned African authors like late Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe and Uganda’s Okot p’ Bitek, among other celebrated writers.

"Communities across the region are in need to discover because their local languages, many can now know how to speak but not to write so we have call this forum to discuss possibilities of making this practical,” said Oya.

“We are now talented as a nation and these are some of the questions to tackle as intellectuals,” he added.

Eida Issa Hamid, a Wau resident from Yulu tribe said, “Most families in Western Bahr el Ghazal prefer to speak Arabic over their local languages while they do not even speak a single word in their mother’s tongue which is very shameful,”.

“You should be self-righteous of your own mother tongue because it is what determines your origin in the community,” he stressed.

(ST)