Amazigh plan Zuwara conference to boost their language

By Olfa Andolsi.

Amazigh flag

Tunis, 8 November 2017:

Amazigh community leaders are concerned that too many of their people do not know their own language, Tamazight.

In an effort an effort to boost the learning and use of Tamazight, a conference is to be held in Zuwara.

The town’s mayor, Hafez Ben Sassi told the Libya Herald that the second of two preparatory meetings will be held in Zuwara tomorrow to decide the date and final details of the conference.

Ben Sassi said that a third of Libyans are Amazigh. “However under Qaddafi we were classed as a minority,” he explained, “because the calculation was based on the number of Tamazight speakers”.

Many of the Amazigh who had settled for generations in Libyan towns and cities elsewhere had stopped speaking the language. They were the targets of the conference, said Ben Sassi.

The establishing of Tamazight as an official language remains controversial. The Amazigh boycotted the elections to Constitutional Drafting Assembly where the issue of minority languages has since been debated. The draft constitution acknowledges the rights of minorities but accords no specific status to any minority language.

Since 2013 Tamazight has been taught in primary schools in the Amazigh region and in 2014 new text books were produced for use there by pupils up to fourth grade (ten year-olds).

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