The rate at which indigenous languages are dying in Kenya took a new turn with the confirmation of Yaaku as being the latest casualty.
Although the most literate of the three East African states, Kenya’s literacy has come at a high price as ‘educated’ Kenyans abandon their vernacular in preference for French and English.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) warns in its Extinct and Endangered Languages report that 16 of the 42 languages spoken in Kenya are threatened with disappearance.
UNESCO certified Yaaku, the language spoken by the Yaaku tribe who lived in the Mukokodo Forest in Central Kenya, dead.
The report, published in February 2002, lists six languages in Uganda and eight in Tanzania as being at risk.