Egypt: Nubian ethnic group sings to revive language


“We all have this passion… to learn our language. We all fear that our language will disappear”

In Egypt, an ethnolinguistic group of people, believed to originate from one of the earliest cradles of civilization, are fighting to preserve their ancestral heritage.

A i24NEWS report highlights how Nubians, one of Egypt’s most marginalized ethnic groups, are fighting to save their language and heritage through song.

For thousands of years, Nubians lived primarily on their ancestral lands in northern Sudan and southern Egypt until they were displaced entirely in the 1960s.

“At first we preserved our language, but when we went to school, our parents feared that speaking Nubian would prevent us from excelling in school,” said Khayreya Moussa, a Nubian language teacher. i24NEWS.

“So they stopped us from speaking in Nubian. This was the beginning of the disappearance of the language.

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Today, only a handful of people can speak Nubian, which was long thought to be devoid of an alphabet before scholars found manuscripts of ancient writing.

When younger generations of Nubian Egyptians could barely speak words of their native language, community members created the Nobig Koro initiative to revive it through song.

“We all have this passion… to learn our language. We are all worried that our language will disappear, said Gehad Ashraf, co-founder of Nobig Koro.

“Children were learning the Nubian language even before learning Arabic.”

Members of the initiative meet weekly to study the lyrics to a certain Nubian song and then sing it to learn the language.

“We dream of spreading the alphabet. We hope that all Nubians in Egypt and Sudan will be able to write in Nubian so that they can document their language.


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