Olongo Africa celebrated International Mother Tongue Day, February 21, with a new anthology edited by Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún and Olajide Salawu.
International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. The day, which was gazetted by UNESCO in 1999, has people from all over the world doing a variety of events like readings in local languages.
Olongo Africa is a community of opinion, literature, travelogue, journalism, and topical writing founded by Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún in 2020. The organisation has published a new anthology, supported by Sterling Bank Nigeria, celebrating mother tongues with leading names in African letters across the continent. Here is an introduction to the anthology;
Who is the audience of our stories? Our reliance on the English language as the primary medium of our storytelling forces this question to the fore every once in a while, especially when the people from whom the stories we tell were inspired are often unable to enjoy them in their most native tongue. The debate of languages of African literature is fierce and ongoing, and perhaps impossible to resolve here. But we often wonder about what is lost when the works we create are directed at only an audience literate in a secondary language or in the opportunities only available with printed words.
To mark the International Mother Tongue Day 2023 today, we present to you ten short stories written by African writers in English and translated into ten different African languages.
The ten stories were translated from English and Portuguese into the languages of Edo, Hausa, Ibibio, Igbo, Nigerian Pidgin, Shona, KiSwahili, Tamazight, Tiv, and Yoruba. Here are the stories, their writers, and translators;
- Ahoẹmwonma Na Ye Ẹmu Tee, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim translated into Edo by Omoyemwen Toni Anne Uwaifo
- Arraw lli Ur Illin, N. Jane Kalu translated into Tamazight by El Housseine Abouazza
- Bàtà Ìwọ̀seré Aláwọ̀ Èsúrú, Iquo DianaAbasi translated into Yorùbá by Rasaq Malik
- Bichiboi, Troy Onyango translated into Swahili by Mary Mukami
- Kwat Mai Duhun Shuɗi, Joao Melo originally in Portuguese translated into Hausa by Sada Malumfashi and Habiba Malumfashi.
- Mhide, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ translated into Tiv by Carl Terver
- Moráyọ̀, Sarah Ladipo Manyika translated into Shona by Zukiswa Wanner
- Utiembet, E. C. Osondu translated to Ibibio by Iquo DianaAbasi
- Ụtụ Ojii, Masimba Musodza translated into Igbo by Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo
- Wọtá, Chika Unigwe translated into Nigerian Pidgin by Jerry Chiemeke
You can read the anthology by clicking here.