Association of N’KO, over the weekend held their first symposium at The
Association of Non-governmental Organisations (Tango) in Kanifing, to sensitise
the general public about the N’KO alphabet and its significance.
N’KO is an African alphabet which was created since 1949. It is capable of writing in all languages. It was developed by Fodey Souleymane Kanteh (1922-1987) from The Republic of Guinea.
Speaking at the event, Ebrima Fatty, coordinator of the programme emphasised the importance of learning the alphabets, saying learning and understanding the N’KO alphabet will help Africans, particularly Gambians to be able to read, understand and write in their own language without bustle. According to him, N’KO is not only limited to Mandinka but its alphabets can be written in all local languages like Wolof, Jola, Fula etc.
Mr. Fatty further stated that understanding N’KO will help children to grow-up in a society where they will be literates of their own language and give them a sense of belonging and ownership.
Karamo Jammeh, a Gambian base in Sweden who studied the N’KO language in Egypt also emphasised the need to understand one’s own language.
According to him, the Holy Qur’an is already translated in N’KO for those who understand it to be able to read and understand the Qur’an better. “N’KO does not only stop at that. There are also newspapers that are published in N’KO and other relevant books. The goal and objective of this programme is to promote effective and meaningful communication in our own dialect.”
He urged parents to allow their children to study the language, saying there are already qualified teachers who studied abroad who are voluntarily teaching in different institutions like Tallinding Islamic School.
Mr. Jammeh expressed optimism that if the necessary measures are taken, N’KO will grow rapidly in different schools and madrasas in the country.
Guest speaker, Sidia Jatta, National Assembly Member for Wuli West applauded the association members for coming with the initiative, describing it as long overdue. According to him, for development to effectively take place, there must be comprehensive communication between the government and the citizenry.
Honourable Jatta is one of the people that have been championing this course for a very long time in Parliament. He assured the association that by Allah’s Will, the Parliament will come up with something to support N’KO to efficaciously take place.
President of the association, Nfally Sawaneh, pleaded with the government to help them get a land to build their school, since they are a young association with financial constraints. He assured the gathering that they will continue to work hard for the realisation of their goal, which is to make Gambians appreciate their own dialect through reading and writing.