Living Her Best Life i Saol na Gaeilge

A Conversation with Ola Majekodunmi

Episode #8

In this episode of “The Language Question, I am delighted to be joined by Irish journalist, broadcaster and Gaeilgeoir Ola Majekodunmi for a captivating conversation. Ola, an Irish language speaker of African descent, shares her unique perspective on language, identity, and the challenges and opportunities for inclusivity and diversity within the Irish language community.

We explore the power of language, the importance of embracing multicultural identities, and the need to challenge conservative attitudes. Ola’s insights as a board member of Foras na Gaeilge, her involvement in Saol na Gaeilge and her creative work in promoting diversity and inclusion within the language community provide a refreshing perspective on the future of the Irish language. This episode offers a compelling exploration of language and culture.

Podcast Notes

Embracing a Multicultural Identity

At the beginning of our conversation, Ola shares her personal journey of growing up in Ireland as a person of African descent and her connection to the Irish language. She eloquently expresses the importance of embracing multicultural identities within the Irish language community and the need to challenge stereotypes and prejudices.

The Power of Language

Our conversation delves into the power and beauty of language, with Ola highlighting the transformative impact language can have on individuals and communities. She discusses her experiences of learning and speaking Irish, emphasising its role in creating connections and fostering a sense of belonging.

Challenges of Representation and Inclusivity

The conversation turns to the patriarchal and conservative aspects of the Irish language and the challenges it poses in terms of inclusivity. Ola reflects on the need to embrace change and challenge conservative attitudes towards the language, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. She also emphasises the importance of education and diverse representation in promoting inclusivity and dismantling stereotypes.

Challenges in Irish Language Education

Ola discusses her role as a board member of Foras na Gaeilge, a language body responsible for promoting and funding the Irish language in both the North and South of Ireland. She discusses the need to support and enhance the language in areas at risk, such as the Gaeltacht, and to ensure funding reaches the right organisations and initiatives.

A Vision for the Future

As our conversation draws to a close, Ola shares her vision for the future of the Irish language and her hope for a more inclusive and open future, where diversity is celebrated and embraced and the language is enjoyed and practiced on a larger scale.

I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Ola, as I am sure you will too.  Be sure to listen in full above or download the transcript below.

More on Ola Majekodunmi

Ola Majekodunmi

Ola Majekodunmi is an Irish journalist, broadcaster, gaeilgeoir and poet. She has presented radio shows at Radió na Life and currently presents the show Unheard on RTÉ 2xm.

She directed a short film, “What does Irishness look like?” And is co-founder of Beyond Representation, which seeks to bring together and celebrate women of colour in Ireland.

Her poem “Gruaig na mBan Dubh” was included in the Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior: An Anthology of Irish Poetry from Medieval to Modern.

And, you can connect with Ola on social here:

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.