Luganda Dominance Frustrates Revival of Kooki Language Top story

3129 Views Kooki, Uganda

In short
ajj Ahmed Kiwanuka, the Kooki Chiefdom Prime Minister says the dominance by Luganda and the fact that there is no written literature about Rukooki have frustrated their efforts to revive the language.

The dominance of Luganda and lack of literature has been singled out as the biggest obstacles to the revival of Lukooki language. In 2011, Kooki Chiefdom launched a campaign to revive Rukooki language and possibly phase out or minimise the use of Luganda by its subjects.

The chiefdom lined up several elders and linguistic experts to start formulating Lukooki literature to boost their efforts to revive the language. In 2014, President Yoweri Museveni donated Shillings 50 million to facilitate the efforts to revive the language.  He also pledged to sponsor the elders to undergo special training aimed at promoting Rukooki language. 

The Kooki Chief Kamuswaga, Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli also asked schools under his territory to start teaching children in Lukooki under the thematic curriculum instead of Luganda.  However, the efforts are yet to bare any tangible results. Apparently, majority of Kooki subjects speak Luganda, Runyakitara and Kinyarwanda. Hajj Ahmed Kiwanuka, the Kooki Chiefdom Prime Minister says the dominance by Luganda and the fact that there is no written literature about Rukooki have frustrated their efforts to revive the language.

He explains that they thought teaching Lukooki in lower primary would boost and promote the usage of the language at an early age; it hasn't produced the desired results. Hajj Kiwanuka says all primary schools have failed to teach in Lukooki due to lack of literature for reference.

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Kiwanuka also says they had expected that their radio station would be on air by now to promote their cultural norms, but Uganda Communication Commission refused to allocate them a frequency.

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Ruth Nabawanuka is one of those who were selected to promote the revival of Lukooki since she is one of those can speak the language fluently. She admits that reviving the language is still a big problem.

Nabawanuka, who learnt the language from her parents, says she is also trying to teach other work how to speak the language through speech.  According to Nabawanuka, she communicates to women in meetings in Lukooki with the help of her colleague, Noeline Naluuga.

Here is a short conversation in Luganda and Lukooki between Ruth Nabawanuka and Noeline Naluuge.

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Kooki chiefdom has secured a printing machine to print materials including examinations for schools for distribution in 11 sub counties. Kooki County is one of 18 counties that make up Buganda kingdom.
However, Kooki chiefdom enjoys a special status and cultural autonomy owing to an agreement signed in 1896, which placed the chiefdom under Buganda Kingdom.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.