2023 Session 7: International Mother Language Day 2023

  • Itsekiri NextGen Project: 2023 Session 7 Report
  • Topic: Mother Language Day
  • Date: Saturday 4th March 2023
  • Volunteers Present: 6
  • Total Number of Attendees: 62
  • Timings: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Venue: Former Caravan 4, Aja-Pessu (Pessu Community), Warri
  • Resource Person: Elliott Alley Golly


Itsekiri NextGen marked mother language day on the 4th of March. This is done ahead of International Mother Language Day which is marked annually on the 21st of February. The theme of the 2023 International Mother Language Day, “Multilingual education – a necessity to transform education” aligns with recommendations made during the Transforming Education Summit, where an emphasis was placed on Indigenous people’s education and languages. 

Session Delivery

There is a dire need to promote the preservation and protection of our indigenous language which is the Itsekiri language in this context. 

In line with our socio-cultural mandate, we key into this need by contacting an Itsekiri actor and filmmaker called Mr Elliott Appey Golly to be the guest facilitator at the session. He came up immediately after the opening prayers and the Itsekiri anthem.

He stressed the importance of our mother language to be able to communicate with our kith and kin mostly in the rural areas. It will also help prevent our language from going into extinction and help project it to the world. He admonished participants to speak the Itsekiri language daily with their family and friends so that it can be passed on to the next generation thereby preventing it from extinction.

Participants were glad when they were told they will be learning parts of the body in Itsekiri. 

  • Etin –  Ear
  • Eju- eye
  • Imo- nose
  • Arun- mouth
  • Eji- Teeth
  • Ewo- hand 
  • Origho- head

They learnt this by touching the parts of the body as they turned the above to song. They were asked to come out one after the other to say the parts of the body in Itsekiri. Some of them got it mixed up while others were able to say it correctly.

Itsekiri children love moonlight play which has been on for past generations. It has been preserved and passed on to this present generation. Undoubtedly, the moonlight play is another means to preserve the language. The participants could still remember the ones they did sometime last year which is ‘Odudumedi and Satobele’. They were excited as they were introduced to another moonlight play titled ‘Ekokoro wa kan’ which is loosely translated as a knock on the head with a fist.

The rules of the play were spelt out to them. They were in two parallel teams with a person chosen to be blindfolded. Another person from the opposite team comes up to give the blindfolded person a tap and quietly goes back to his/ her position.

The blindfolded person is released to go pick out the person who gave him/her a tap. On touching the right person, the person touched automatically joins the team of the blindfolded person.  Touching the wrong person makes the blindfolded person automatically belong to the opposite team. 

The participants took turns to participate in this exciting moonlight play. The volunteers could hold it no longer as the cheers, laughter, and excitement were erupting out from the play. They had to join each team to also get blindfolded.  

The participants together with the volunteers had an educative and fun-filled session.

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