AMA commemorates International Mother Language Day with reading sessions at Makola Market

AMA commemorates International Mother Language Day with reading sessions at Makola Market

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has organized a special reading session at the 31st Makola Market, to celebrate linguistic diversity and promote the importance of preserving mother tongues.

The event, which was held on February 21st, to commemorate the 2024 International Mother Language Day, under the theme:  Reading to Connect Minds for Social Transformation” sought to among other things rekindle the habit of reading in the local dialects, and promote intercultural connections.

The International Mother Language Day, observed annually on February 21st, was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism worldwide.

Speaking at the opening ceremony ahead of the reading session, the Mayor of Accra, Hon Elizabeth K. T. Sackey,  acknowledged the intrinsic value of every language in the city and its role in preserving cultural heritage, stressing that language was not just a means of communication; but a repository of knowledge, identity, and traditions.

She said the event forms part of a series of activities by the AMA to promote the Accra World Book Capital emphasising that the reading sessions were meant to showcase the beauty and diversity of the various mother tongues exhibited in the city.

She underscored the AMA’s commitment to promoting linguistic diversity and fostering a greater appreciation for mother languages among residents of Accra adding that “As a melting pot of cultures and languages, Accra embodies the spirit of International Mother Language Day.”

“Events like these are crucial for raising awareness about the importance of linguistic diversity and ensuring that every language has its rightful place in our society, “she said.

She also used the opportunity to urge institutions such as the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana School of Languages, and religious bodies to have a major role in pushing the agenda of promoting local languages to preserve the country’s cultural identity.

She encouraged market women and traders to help save the Ghanaian languages from going extinct by teaching their children how to read and speak to them at home.

President of the Greater Accra Market Association, Mercy Naa Afrowa Needjan, in a welcome address expressed gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate this year’s event in the market and reaffirmed their commitment to preserving linguistic heritage for future generations.

She pledged the association’s continuous support to initiatives that promote multilingualism and cultural exchange in Accra and was hopeful the event would among other things help promote reading among traders.

During the reading sessions volunteers including traders, community members and the Mayor of Accra took turns reading aloud passages from literary works, poems, and folktales in the Ga, and Akan languages.

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