Campaigner eyeing leaders’ commitment to Amharic’s continental status

ADDIS ABABA– The pursuit of making Amharic one of the African Union’s official languages is subject to leaders’ commitment, the campaigner said, expressing her vision to make Amharic an Africans’ common language.

A Nigerian philosopher, linguist, film writer and director Rahmatou Keita, who is an advocator of Amharic’s broader continental role briefed journalists on Tuesday about activities she has made since 2009 and her plans.

According to the linguist, her campaign will not be culminated by making Amharic as among the official languages of the continental body, rather her ambition is transforming it to a lingua franca of all Africans. “To make this happen, African leaders’ strong commitment and their passing of pertinent decision on the matter is critical.”

Explaining her rationale to make Amharic among AU’s official instruments, she said, “Most of the time Africans are now using the languages of our colonial rulers notably English, French and Portuguese and we do not make use of and develop our indigenous languages such as Amharic. On the other hand, apart from East Africa, Amharic is widely utilized in various parts of the world including the U.S., Israel,and South Africa.”

Keita also revealed her partnership with influential Ethiopians including Athlete Haile Gebreselasse and other figures to mobilize strong local support for her campaign. “As a film writer, director, and producer, I am utilizing Amharic’s subtitle for my films.”

It is to be recalled that the newly appointed Foreign Minister of Ethiopia TayeAtske Selassie proposed Amharic as the new AU official language in his opening address on the 37th Ministerial Summit last week.

The AU utilizes Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili as its official languages. The Executive Council shall determine the process and practical modalities for the use of working languages, it was learned.



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