Meet Uzoma Ozurumba Ihechiluru, Igbo language activist

Photo provided by Uzoma Ozurumba Ihechiluru.

In 2019 as part of a social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online, African language activists and advocates will be taking turns managing the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of African languages. This profile post is about Uzoma Ozurumba Ihechiluru (@uzomaozurumba) and what she plans to discuss during her week as host.

Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Uzoma Ozurumba Ihechiluru; I am an Architect and a public servant in Nigeria. I am an open knowledge advocate and activist; a co-founder of Igbo Wikimedians User Group. The Igbo Wikimedians User Group is an affiliate of the Wikimedia Foundation that is committed to working on various Wikimedia projects related to Igbo language and culture.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

I would say the current status of Igbo language on the internet is encouraging. At the moment, the Igbo Wikipedia can boast of 1,417 articles, and the home page ranked the third most visited in February 2019. Also, the Igbo Wiktionary, which is an Igbo dictionary, is increasing in content. Although this project is still in the incubation stage, it has over five hundred words and its pronunciations, and we look forward to being hosted soon. So, I would say online and offline we are shaping up.

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account?

I will focus on

  • Creating awareness about Igbo names and their meanings.
  • Meaning of literacy and digital literacy
  • Empowerment through languages.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

The prediction of the extinction of Igbo language by UNESCO was a wake-up call for me. I look forward to literacy in Nigeria not being defined as the ability to read and write in English; which seems so because most content online is in English. This issue leaves people without formal education illiterate and not empowered.

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