Hear Her Majesty, Aye, She Speaks the Truth

Whether by design or default, Europeans created artificial boundaries in Africa between homogeneous groups. So much so that most African countries have no national language, having adopted foreign languages as lingua franca. Now, a traditional ruler in Ghana has questioned the wisdom of nation building on a borrowed language.

A traditional ruler at Nkyinkyin Grabodo in the Shama Traditional Council of the Western Region in Ghana, Nana Nkanomako IV has suggested that stakeholders in Ghana should utilize local languages for information delivery and deliberations.

This, she believes would enable folks deficient in the English language to contribute and be part of nation-building. She opined that wisdom is not incarnated only in people who can express themselves in the English language.

Amandla agrees with the wise counsel of the traditional ruler, because in most developing countries in Africa, wisdom has been equated and defined as the ability to speak and/or write the language of colonial masters.

As a former British colony, being eloquent and fluent in the English language is associated with higher social status and wisdom. But to all intents and purposes, that is not necessarily always true.

In a country such as Ghana with substantial illiteracy in the populace, a large chunk of people are completely cut off and out of the national debate. Because English is the official language and Ghana has no national language, almost all official business – from the local and regional levels to the national government – is conducted in English.

We think and believe that the contribution of every able Ghanaian is paramount in nation-building, and a way must be developed to harness the unadulterated wisdom of those cut out and off in the process.

On the flip side, the government of Ghana is promoting and encouraging the use of French as a second language.

We are fully cognizant that Ghana is surrounded by Francophone countries and that acquiring skills in the French language could be mutually and regionally beneficial. In fact, in this contemporary global village, the more skills in other languages, the better.

But we must not adopt foreign languages at the expense of indigenous ones. As a matter of fact, indigenous languages must be encouraged alongside any adopted language because they identify and make us unique among the world’s people.

Ghanaians and other Africans who want to pursue professional or diplomatic careers would have to study foreign languages from high school through college or university. Yoruba, Hausa, Twi, and Amharic, for example, are native languages of Africa and must be preserved as such. Our dependence and reliance on anything European seem to have no limits.

One of the profound yet debilitating legacies left by colonial masters is their language: Portuguese in Angola, English in Nigeria, French in Mail, and the list continues.

China, with its vast capital and investments in Africa, is making cautious inroads with its languages in Africa. Europeans already dictate the directions of our socioeconomic development, and the last thing Africa needs is further mental and psychological influence from outside.

After all, foreign religion, diet, culture, etc. have proven non-beneficial to Africa!

For a start, a regional bloc of Africa such as the ECOWAS could employ a major non-European language as its official language, as has been done in the Eastern part of Africa with Kiswahili.

In this instance Africa, as big as it is, could have at least four or so official languages, of which one could be adopted by the United Nations.

And lest we forgot, for those who think they speak excellent English or French and therefore are literate, they must think again, for illiteracy is defined as the inability to write and read one’s natural (birth) language.

Let’s develop Africa for Africans, independent from being Anglophone, Francophone, and “Sinophone!” Let the debate on a national language begins now!

Posted by on Apr 8 2019. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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