International Mother Language Day (IMLD)

09 May 2014

On the declaration date of IMLD, The Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi hosted their very own Mother Language Day with the theme being “Celebrating Unity in Language Diversity.”

In recognition of the importance of linguistic diversity, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared 21st February as International Mother Language Day (IMLD) in its 30th session of General Conference in 1999. “The declaration was motivated by the current threat to linguistic diversity posed by globalization as well as the tendency to use a single language in communication, at the risk of marginalizing the other languages.” (UNESCO, 1999)

On the declaration date of IMLD, The Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi hosted their very own Mother Language Day with the theme being “Celebrating Unity in Language Diversity.”

The day was astonishing, full of beauty, diversity and burst with happiness and smiles as every student got to show case their dance skills, extravagant clothing, languages and unity.

The school has over twenty-eight mother languages which were grouped together based on numbers. This was narrowed down to form seven groups and each group set up tents filled with artifacts, clothing, holy offerings, music, dance, books, food and hospitality.

Diverse groups broke out into traditional dances with exciting music blasted throughout the day. These episodes attracted the whole Academy to each group’s dance. Everyone joined in; everyone moved; everyone shook; everyone sang, everyone cheered; and most of all, everyone became more connected!

This important day created stronger bonds within the faculty and student body; you would see IB 1s enjoying a dance with Grade7s, as well as open minds as each would explain to the other about their religious artifacts.

“I have never seen another school event that involved all the teachers,” said one of the IB DP2 students.

The beauty of the event was that all the language groups were competing; hence all gave their best. The judges, Dr. Pricilla Gitonga, Mrs. Shah and Mr. Atika Manani had a hard time as they toured the tents.

“I do believe we are all winners today. This is an event of a kind and we have enjoyed ourselves and I believe we have learnt something from our different languages,” said Dr. Gitonga who announced the winning groups with the best exhibits and also sang a song that electrified the audience.

The final piece was a sight to behold with breathtaking entertainment from the IB DP1 Swahili class, with a Swahili ‘Zilizopendwa’ tune and a Luo dance by the faculty.

The air was filled with comments from various students and teachers:

“Diversity” (Ms. Caroline Brocvielle)

“Culture is the only thing that unites people, and the only element that keeps you true to yourself.” (Mary Natalie)

“Maintains people’s languages, behavior and food.” (Mr. Aaron, Lab Assistant)

“Culture is about how you live and how you express yourself within your religion.” (Tanisha)

“Parents should continue to empower culture in their young ones.” (Anne Gichohi)

“Culture is here to stay! Bring people together! People bond form bonds, create teams, and most of all create a family!” (Isaac Musembi)

“Culture and building bridges with one another have resulted in better input to education as people learn together.” (Stephen Maigwa)