President Yoweri Museveni has paid tribute to fallen Kigyezi scholar Mzee Festo Karwemera for his contribution to the preservation of Kiga culture and language.
Praised by many as an icon of Runyankore-Rukiga literature, Karwemera passed on at Kibikuura Cell, Lower Bugongi in Kabale Municipality at the weekend.
He was aged 95.
A funeral service happened at Kigezi High School in Kabale on September 01. At the event State Minister of Finance for Planning David Bahati represented President Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni described Karwemera as “a gallant son of Uganda who promoted the language and culture of the Bakiga, by writing many books; a gesture of preservation of the heritage of the African people.”
“We salute Omugurusi Karwemera for the crucial role he played and we pray that his outstanding service will be a source of inspiration and motivation to most Ugandans. May his soul Rest in Eternal Peace.”
The head-of-state emphasized the role of indigenous languages, further lauding Karwemera for his role in documentation of Runyankore-Rukiga.
“Our Bantu dialects and other African languages are much richer than the European languages, unfortunately, most of these dialects were not written down,” continued Museveni in his speech that Minister Bahati read.
“Our mother tongues have a potentially great future if we could get more linguistic patriots to sensitise the population about the importance of our rich culture.”
Karwemera was one of the experts Museveni and a group of linguists consulted in the compilation of a vital thesaurus.
“With limited writing and elders dying, I joined some linguists from Makerere University to write a thesaurus of Ruyankole-Rukiga (Katondoozi). Omugurusi Karwemera was a great source of information in writing this book. We shall forever be grateful.”