Re: Writers Back African Languages
Posted By: PatriotWarrior In Response To: Re: Writers Back African Languages (Ayinde)
Date: Friday, 18 November 2005, at 6:25 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Writers Back African Languages (Ayinde)
“… would it be unproblematic if African leaders spoke or transacted official business in one or two African languages while their nation is made of many more language groups? Ethiopia is one example of how people can be alienated based on how an official language is adopted.”
I think this is the core of the issue: The question of what (Afrikan) language to choose or adopt (at the "expense" of other ones of course) in an Afrika that is a sea of many languages. There are so many languages -- (or would one say ‘too many tribes’?) -- in Afrika, but I think we could choose to see the positive side of it as well, without ignoring the negatives. Also, I agree with Bantu’s view (and know from my own personal experience) that black Afrikans can very easily cohabit, given the right socio-political balance, cultural balance etc, especially in a healthy economy. In Zambia, for example, we’ve hardly (I say only “hardly”) experienced tribalism before, even nowadays when the economy has become visibly over-privatized and shamelessly exploitative (e.g. the astronomical tariffs charged on cell phone calls …), with poverty levels rising and no-one even caring to watch; but still, why is there almost no tribalism in Zambia, despite the hunger, disease? I think it’s mainly because of the political security and inter-tribal peace created by our earlier political leaders (such as Harry Nkumbula, Kenneth Kaunda, Nalumino Mundia etc) who came from tribally very diverse backgrounds themselves and, I guess, wisely saw the need for ‘creating’ a political nation with no regard to “tribe”. I know that the word “tribe”, as a an own distinct classification, can mean either nothing or everything depending on where one comes from or where one is in Afrika sometimes, much the same as “race” does outside (but also within) Afrika. Tribe can be taken for granted in many Afrikan countries sometimes, especially I think in countries where a particular sector of citizens has in the past shown its discontentment with being “federalized”, by waging a civil war. These are the complexities of the problem concerning language and culture; actually, it is the weakness that makes it easier to neo-colonize Afrikans with English or by way of another alien colonial tongue.
I also stopped thinking that English “unites” Afrikans or Zambians for that matter. In Zambia, especially in the towns/cities, many people may find it “cool” to use English at home or when with friends, or “cool” to continue naming their children “Mary” or “George”, but almost everyone understands a common Afrikan vernacular anywhere in Zambia anyway, and there may be a total of 3 or 4 such vernaculars, which then sum up to being understood by all Zambians. Such vernaculars don’t necessarily have to be a natural language, or one ethnically spoken by some “high class” ethnic group of people in a country, but can be a lingua franca that develops or can be developed through inter-cultural intercourse over space and time. I think this is what Kelani was referring to in her post, and I personally know that Lingala, Swahili, Nyanja and other Afrikan “languages” -- (actually simply “dialects”) -- fall under this category of “vernaculars”. I believe such languages are the ones that could provide an answer over time, the ones that could easily qualify as potential choices to be considered for initial “officiation”. Another argument I can think up just now is that a country could still have several official (Afrikan) languages, because the absence of these would most likely sow the seeds for civil war or, worse, “tribal war”. Such a system clearly works among whites and other peoples already, but I don’t doubt that it could work also in Afrika … (e.g.: the multi-lingual systems in Canada (with French/English) or Belgium (with French/Dutch/Flemish) or the Netherlands/Holland (with Dutch and more Flemish), and such as it worked peacefully for more than 40 years between the Czechs and Slovaks in the former CSR or Czechoslovakia, now called the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, respectively).
Messages In This Thread
Rastafari Speaks Archive is maintained by Administrator with RastafariSpeaks.com 5.12.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml