Rahmatou Keita speaks passionately about Amharic language. And she is campaigning to make it one of the official languages of African Union.
(photo credit –Roots Magazine) Rahmatou Keita is a movie star, writer and director from Niger. She has been campaigning to make Amharic language one of the working languages for the African Union. She discusses the matter with people in the industry whenever she attends film festivals. She also met the late prime minister Meles Zenawi but he was apparently not as interested as her, to say the least.
But she is not discouraged and vows that she will not back down from campaigning to make Amharic a working language for African Union, an offspring of Organization of African Union which was founded in Ethiopia with the relentless efforts of Emperor Haileselassie and distinguished African leaders of his time like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Milton Obote of Uganda just to name a few.
She believes in promoting African languages. In the film she entitled “Znaria” (in Hausa language), three African languages are used.
Rahmatou Keita is also doing the best she can to put the Amharic language in the limelight. In 2016, one of her seminal work , “The Wedding Ring ” movie was released and she used Amharic writing post credit (closing credits) in the movie. Six African counties ( Niger,Congo,Algeria,Rwanda,Uganda and Morocco) and Pan African Culture Festival institute supported production of the movie and they were in acknowledged in the closing credits. “The Wedding Ring Movie” is shown in big international film festival events like Toronto International Film Festival and Amsterdam Film Festival.
She told DW Amharic journalist ” I preferred to write closing credit in Amharic because Amharic is one of the ancient written language. There are only few languages like that in the world. This language with a beautiful script is spoken in Ethiopia and to some extent in Eritrea too…”
The actor thinks that the Amharic language did not get the attention it deserves and is not spoken in Africa as much as it should. Amharic is an ancient language with its own script that should rather be considered an African heritage. Unique about the script is that the letters need not need combination to represent a certain sound.
Amharic language has a lot to do with Geez another ancient Ethiopian language which is currently limited to the Ethiopian church. This year, the pop star Abel Tesfaye , he is popularly known as The Weeknd , with the name of his album, donated 50,000 dollars to support the launch of Geez language as a course at the University of Toronto.
DW report on Rahmatou Keita ‘ s effort to make Amharic language one of the official languages in available here in Amharic language.
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