Tuesday, March 21

YWAG-NCAC mark African Languages Week in The Gambia

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The Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG) under the auspices of the Writers Association of the Gambia in partnership with the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Monday held a press conference to mark the African Languages Week in Banjul, The Gambia.

The African Union theme for the 2023 African Languages Week is “African Languages for Sustainable Food Security, Cultural and Socio0Economic Development for the Africa We Want’’

In his opening remarks, Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, founder and president of the Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG) welcomed the participants and deliberated on the importance of the day. ML Sowe said the African Languages Week was officially launched in July 2022 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso by the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN-AU) to empower African languages and promote their use in all domains of society. The African Languages Week, which is celebrated annually from January 24 to 30 also aimed at reflecting on African languages and their development as factor of peace, prosperity and integration in Africa.

“I called on Gambian citizens’ especially Gambian writers and the youth to initiate activities that will stimulate readership of literature in African languages and sensitize the general public on their importance. I also urged Gambians to mobilize Africans across the continent and the diaspora to embrace their languages and use them for development, said Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe.’’ Mr. Sowe also spoke about how his association is promoting African languages with support from the NCAC through the National Storytelling Competition.

In his keynote address, Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, the director general of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) lauded the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) under the leadership of Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha for initiating the celebration of the African Languages Week and adopting Kiswahili as a working language of the African Union and a language of wider communication in Africa. He said the NCAC Act, 2003 gives the NCAC mandate to oversee the development of Gambian national languages.

He commended the Young Writers Association of The Gambia for spearheading the celebrations in the Gambia, and called on young people to write and tell stories in our national languages; and assured the support of his office and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in embracing the African Languages Week.

“We should give a high regard to our national languages and integrate them in the fight against climate change, the fight against poverty and the fight against hunger. Our national languages have a socio-economic value which is very fundamental for food security and sustainable development that value must be harnessed by young people.’’

He called on students, members of the Young Writers Association of The Gambia and Gambian youths to make efforts that will ensure the use of African languages as an effective factor of integration for sustainable peace and development in Africa. “African languages are a mobilizing tool for national development and are a storage of indigenous knowledge, therefore leaving them out of development plans for the continent is tantamount to hindering and postponing Africa’s development’’ added Mr. Hassoum Ceesay.