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Anthony Otaigbe, a US-born software engineer, created an e-learning language app called Izesan to help people learn African languages, specifically his ancestral language, Esan.

Esan is an Edo language spoken by the Esan people of Edo State in southern Nigeria. It is estimated that there are over a million native speakers of Esan worldwide.

“Learning my own language was very difficult because there were really no resources out there,” Anthony narrated.

The Esan people are known for their rich cultural heritage, including their music, dance, and festivals. They are predominantly farmers, and their traditional religion is centered on the worship of ancestral spirits. The Esan people also have a long history of artistry, particularly in the areas of woodcarving and bronze casting.

Anthony Otaigbe was inspired to create the Izesan app after struggling to learn Esan himself. He realized that there was a lack of resources available for people who wanted to learn African languages, and he saw an opportunity to use his skills as a software engineer to fill that gap. The Izesan app is designed to be interactive and engaging, with lessons that incorporate audio, video, and quizzes to help users learn the language.

Anthony Otaigbe, Izesan Developer

“I reached out to my parents, uncles and aunts, asking them questions. I even went as far as calling my grandfather all the way in the village, just to try and talk to him and ask questions and learn more,” Anthony further shared in an interview with TechCabal.

The app also includes information about Esan culture, such as traditional greetings, proverbs, and songs. Anthony hopes that by promoting the learning of African languages like Esan, he can help preserve these languages and the cultures they are associated with.

Source: TechCabal

“So I decided that, you know, not everybody has the fortitude and the resilience to go that far just to learn their language, especially when there’s no economic benefit. So, I felt it might be easier for my contemporaries if an app was there to learn these languages.”

The Izesan app has been well-received by the Esan community, and Anthony has plans to expand the app to include other African languages in the future. 

His work is an important contribution to the preservation and promotion of African languages and cultures, and it serves as an inspiration for others who are interested in learning and sharing these valuable resources.

By Elijah Christopher




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