The Yaaku people of Kenya that reside in Rift Valley total at a modest population of 4,000 — that’s a number comparable to the amount of graduating seniors at most high schools. Those that can even speak the tribe’s official Kenyan language of Yakunte is an even smaller digit, a single one that that, with just seven people all over the age of 70 able to fluently articulate.
As the world moves on and gets older, there’s only a matter of time before the Yakunte language and those who can speak are completely extinct, but hopefully bringing awareness can change that fate for the better.
As Travel Noire brought to light recently, the Yaaku came to be almost 100 years ago after settling in the Mukogodo forest, west of Mount Kenya, by way of a migration from Ethiopia. The actual language derives from the Masai culture where they assimilated into, combining “Masai tongue” with their native Cushitic language. Even with these being evident facts, the Yaaku are not officially recognized as one of Kenya’s 42 ethnic groups despite being considered a subgroup of the Masai.
Here’s how Travel Noire further breaks down the rapidly declining language of Yakunte:
“As the number of Yakunte speakers dwindles, there have been various efforts made to save the Kenyan language. Yakunte speakers and a Dutch researcher wrote a Yakunte dictionaryin 2004. Advocates of the people established theYaaku People Association in 2003, dedicated to preserving its culture. In addition, a local school funded by the French Cultural Group is holding language classes twice a month for young Yaaku according to the BBC report.”
So, how can we help save the ancient Kenyan language of Yakunte from being totally obsolete? Sound off with your thoughts on the subject and let us know your perspective!
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