Kooki Chiefdom Struggles to Revive Lukooki

Under the campaign the chiefdom embarked on plans to source language experts and elders to document the language.

Audio 5

Kooki chiefdom is faced with numerous challenges in its attempts to revive Lukooki, the mother tongue of subjects of the chiefdom.

Currently, the majority of the Kooki subjects speak Luganda, Runyakitara and Kinyarwanda. Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli, the Kamuswaga of Kooki chiefdom says that only 2 percent of his subjects speak Lukooki. In 2010, the Koooki chiefdom launched a campaign to revive the language and phase out Luganda. Under the campaign the chiefdom embarked on plans to source language experts and elders to document the language.

The chiefdom was also expected to introduce Lukooki in all primary schools under its jurisdiction. Elidad Ssemukasa, one of the people who can speak Lukooki explains that the language is similar to Runyakitara, Luziba and Lunyankole. He explains that he tried to compile some words in an exercise book but Kamusswaga has not sent experts to document it.

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Ananias Ssekyanzi, the premier of Kooki chiefdom says that their attempts to revive Lukooki are failing due to lack of funds to facilitate the few volunteers who are working to document the language. He says that about 100 million shillings is needed to revive the language but they don't have the money. Ssekyanzi says that they expected to get the money from President Yoweri Museveni but he has no yet given it to them.

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Dickson Ssebyaala, the Kooki Chiefdom Cultural Minister says they have also failed to compel the National Curriculum Centre to include Lukooki on the syllabus of all schools in Kooki chiefdom because they don't have any literature to guide them. He says they tried to look around all museums and libraries but couldn't find any Lukooki literature.

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Doreen Birungi, a Kooki subject says she is disappointed that she speaks Luganda yet she should be speaking Lukooki. She wants those concerned to do whatever they can to revive it. Birungi says she is also disappointed that the Kooki Anthem is also sung in Luganda yet it would be in Lukooki.

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However,  Emily Drani, the Director Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda is in Kooki to see how the foundation can help to revive the Kooki language. Drani who does not say how much money they are pumping into the project, says that they are going to help to ensure is not extinct.

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Kooki chiefdom that is located in Rakai district was incorporated under Buganda Kingdom in 1896 after signing an agreement for protection against invaders. Since then, the chiefdom has remained under Buganda, despite the fact that it retained some of its cultural heritage and leader.