Welcome to the Ekegusii Internet Living Dictionary and Encyclopedia
Ekegusii Encyclopedia Project (EEP) is dedicated to Ekegusii, the language of the Abagusii of Kenya. It aims to encourage its use, promotion, preservation and revitalization. Language is the medium through which knowledge is passed on. The culture and traditions of a community are best expressed through its mother tongue, as are its values and way of life.
Ekegusii is endangered, and there are several reasons for this. Increasing globalisation means that business is now generally conducted in Kiswahili or English. Ekegusii is also used less frequently at home, at church, and at school. Individuals who still use Ekegusii tend to be the elderly.
Unless something is done, there is a real danger that the language will cease to exist. If Ekegusii is to survive, authoritative reference materials need to be available. They need to be in printed versions in libraries, but they also need to be on-line, so that the young will be encouraged to use them.
This is the dual purpose of the Ekegusii Encyclopedia Project. Ekegusii may not be the language of industry and commerce, but this is no reason for it to disappear. For the Abagusii, it is an essential part of their identity and reality.
The community knows that the language needs to be preserved for future generations, and that action must be taken now, whilst enough fluent speakers of Ekegusii remain to oversee it. You can support our effort by making a voluntary donation, by buying promotional materials, or becoming a member by subscription. Subscription fees will be used to preserve, promote and revitalize this language.
what others say
Nelson Madiba Mandela, [Late South Afrina president and anti apartheid icon] "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart".
Irina Bokava [UNESCO Secretary General] “Mother languages, along with linguistic diversity, matter for the identity of individuals. As sources of creativity and vehicles for cultural expression, they are also important for the health of societies. Not least, languages are factors for development and growth. We know how important education in the mother language is for learning outcomes. Mother language instruction is a powerful way to fight discrimination and reach out to marginalized populations. As wellsprings of knowledge, languages are also starting points for greater sustainability in development, for managing more harmoniously our relationship with the environment and change”.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, [Distinguished Professor, Novelist] One of the roots of our problem in Kenya and Africa; is that we begin our education by alienating a child from the language of their everyday culture, their mother tongue. An education system that is founded on a negative conception of self is seriously flawed. It’s an education that aims at producing educated slaves.
If one learns all the languages of the world and does not know their mother tongue, that is enslavement. But if one knows their mother tongue and then adds all the other languages to it, that is empowerment. Unfortunately our education system and government language policies and practice are taking the entire Kenya elite on the path of enslavement. What we need is not enslavement; we need empowerment.
A Gusii child should know and master Gusii language very well; then she or he should add Kiswahili to it, master it as well as EkeGusii. Then add to these two, the child should add English and master it as well as master Kiswahili and EkeGusii. The result will be an empowered Gusii intellectual. An empowered Gusii intellectual is an empowered Kenyan and African. That’s how it should be: every Kenyan child should exude the pride of Kenya in our thought and practice. This must begin with a respect for our languages and the people who produced them.
That’s why the Bosire team must be congratulated. They have set an example to other Kenyan intellectuals. You, who have been to the best universities in Kenya and the world with the support of your community, give something back to that community. Give back something to the language in which your mother and father sang those endearing lullabies.
Davis Wade, [National Geographic and Harvard-educated ethnobotanist] Humanity's greatest legacy is the "ethnosphere," the cultural counterpart to the biosphere, and "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness." "Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind."