A page from an Old Nubian language manuscript of ''Liber Institutionis Michaelis Archangeli'' from Qasr Ibrim, 9th-10th cent. AD, now British Museum EA 71305. Wikimedia commons/ Mustafaa.
CAIRO – 7 May 2018: Sudanese author Abdel Aal Hemat called on the Egyptian government to start teaching the Nubian language as part of its educational curriculum in schools, saying that this language is considered part of the historical heritage of the culture of Sudan and Egypt.
“There is only one university in central Sudan that teaches the Nubian language; no other universities or schools teach it in all of Africa, which will affect the existence and significance of Nubian culture and history on the long term,” Hemat said in statements to media outlets on Monday.
By 2020, some of the schools in North Sudan will start teaching this language as part of its educational curriculum, according to Hemat; however, he also wishes that Egypt takes a similar decision to protect the language, which has shaped a huge part of Egyptian and Sudanese history.
He added that the Nubian language consists of 24 characters; each one needs at least four hours of good practice and learning to be perfectly understood and fluently spoken. “This language has a 5,000-year-old history. It’s one of the oldest languages ever spoken,” Hemat affirmed.
Nubia currently is a region located between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. In the past, several old civilizations lived and thrived in this area, including the Kerma and Kush kingdoms, which were described by UNESCO as “great powers” that ruled Nubia.
“Taharqa” was a Kush-Nubian pharaoh who ruled ancient Egypt as part of the 25th Dynasty and established several pillars inside the Karnak Temple complex, but only one pillar from his civilization has survived until now.
Granite sphinx of Taharqo, 25th Dynasty from a temple at Kawa. Now residing in the British Museum, London via Wikimedia commons/ Jon Bodsworth
Nubian people are trying to preserve their culture as much as possible by passing the language on to their children to prevent it from being lost; however, some Nubian people complain that there are no real measures being taken to preserve and guarantee the existence of this language.
The Nubian language played a significant role during the 1973 October War as a secret code for the Egyptian army.