n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Language, and the tremor of the political moment : English as a main language of discourse in Africa

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



English plays a pivotal role as a language of discourse in Africa. Recently, the relentless pressure to embrace the much-heralded African Renaissance has prompted many African countries to promote indigenous languages and elevate their status to that of official languages, alongside English which enjoys first place due to its development and popularity across Africa. Through the theoretical lenses of hegemonic theory and Afrikology, this article explores the use of English as a dominant language in Africa. It is posited in this article that language is the embodiment of culture and that over reliance on foreign languages often leads to unintentional consequences, which include serving as a hegemonic devise to promote foreign cultures at the expense of African culture. The article is informed, in part, by the author's personal experience while living in a native English speaking country (United Kingdom); his experience while teaching English in a non-English speaking country (Japan) and his experience in his native multilingual country (South Africa). The article concludes that while the merits of using English as a main language of discourse in Africa are clear, the need to challenge such a situation is even more compelling, and proposes that at least one African language should equally be endorsed.

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