Skip to main content

New African language bridging tribal division



A new African language is helping to reduce tensions and bring young people together in areas previously torn apart by tribal violence. 

And academics are so impressed by the language’s potential that a social media platform promoting it will form the subject of a major presentation at this year’s eLearning Africa, the continent’s leading conference on technology-assisted learning, training and development.

The language - ‘Sheng’ – combines Kiswahili, English and a number of Kenyan tribal words, along with a smattering of Arabic, Hindu, French, German, Spanish and Italian. It was born on the streets of Nairobi, in some of the areas hardest hit by eruptions of post-election violence in 2007- 2008.

Now a ‘social enterprise initiative’ in Kenya, ‘Go Sheng’, is helping to celebrate and promote the language, which is almost exclusively used by young people – so much so that it has become the first language of many young Kenyans in urban areas.

The initiative provides a platform for social dialogue for the language’s growing numbers of speakers. In so doing, it is giving a voice to a powerful alternative culture in Kenya and celebrating the many tribal languages that contribute to Sheng. In turn, this helps to bring some welcome cultural harmony and mutual understanding to a country, which has too often been divided against itself in the recent past

Although Kenya is a modern cosmopolitan nation, it is still plagued by ethnic divisions, which are often exacerbated political, land distribution and cultural issues. To many young people, the Sheng language and culture seem to offer a means of overcoming these traditional divisions.

With an array of diverse Kenyan tribal languages within it, Sheng provides otherwise marginalised young people with a sense of ownership, as they help to define this continually evolving language. It also, perhaps, gives them an opportunity to question and challenge the mainstream ideologies and identities that traditionally define them.

‘Go Sheng’ uses a variety of different means to demystify, document, archive and grow Sheng language and culture. . Its most significant achievement, to date, has been the development of a Sheng dictionary, which contains over 3,900 words and continues to grow rapidly.

It functions as a socially driven resource where registered members can add words or phrases which then get voted for by other members, before being accepted as authentic. Go Sheng also runs a website, a forum and various social media channels, which have  an online community of around 15000 active participants. As Kelvin Okoth, PR and Projects Officer at Go Sheng, says:

“Sheng has the potential to be with us for generations to come. As curators of this language and culture, we at Go Sheng hope to preserve this urban language and provide a platform for social dialogue among its speakers.”

Go Sheng will be presented at eLearning Africa 2015, which takes place at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 20th – 22nd.

Credit: ICWE 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PFM Act to guide local government authority borrowing

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The bill, Public Financial Management (PFM) Act 921 which has been passed into law by Parliament is to guide public institutions especially the local government authority borrowing. The law was pass on 3rdAugust, 2016
According to the law, local government authority, a public corporation or state-owned enterprise is liable for the debt and other obligations without recourse to Government, unless otherwise explicitly guaranteed by Government in accordance with this Act.
Madam Eva Esselba Mends, the Chief Economic Officer and Group Head of PFM at the Ministry of Finance told the Daily Express that the law involves a lot but it also give instruction to how state institutions can borrow especially with the  local government authority.
She mentioned that there is no specific law in place that gives direction as to what local authority can do when it comes to borrowing by the authority. Other public corporations sometimes borrow with huge amount for their operation but loca…

Tigo donates 540 tablet phones Death and Birth Registry

By: Sarpongs.blogspot.com 
Tigo Ghana has presented 540 tablets phones with internet connectivity to the Births and Deaths Registry (BDR) for the pilot phase of the automated birth registration programme.
This form parts of Tigo’s strategic focus to accelerate birth registration in Ghana through mobile technology. Tigo in partnership with UNICEF is providing this technology platform.
A statement from Tigo stated that the tablets will allow birth registration attendants from the Births and Deaths Registry to electronically capture details of all new births in 300 communities across Ghana.
The automated birth registration programme which was launched in May this year, is expected to make a significant contribution to an improved national average registration rate, an increase from 65 percent of all children under age one to at least 75 percent by the end of 2017.
According to Tigo, a successful pilot will also contribute to progress under Ghana’s National Civil Registration and Vital Statist…

Vodafone fined a record £4.6 million for IT blunder

A top-up error left pay-as-you-go customers out of pocket and complaints were mishandled
Vodafone has been fined a record £4.6 million by the telecoms watchdog forleaving thousands of customers out of pocket in a disastrous IT blunder.
Ofcom found that the operator mishandled complaints and failed to pay into the accounts of more than 10,000 pay-as-you-go customers when they topped up their credit.
The top-up error, which cost customers £150,000 over 17 months in 2014 and 2015, stemmed from the moving of 28.5 million accounts to a new billing system.Errors in billing data and price plans caused so much protest that it made Vodafone the most complained-about mobile network in Britain.The technical issues were resolved by April 2015 and all accounts are now on the new system, Vodafone said.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said:“Vodafone’s failings were serious and unacceptable, and these fines send a clear warning to all telecoms companies.”
The company says that it has ref…