Towards Afrocentricism in Africa: Is Afro – Language an Antidote to Africans’ Double - Consciousness?
Muneeni, Jeremiah Mutuku
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Commonwealth countries were forced to adopt English as language to use in most if not all government engagements with its citizen. This has, together with economic status of its native speakers, propelled it to the status of a global language. The problem of African estrangement dates back to 1884 when Africa was sub-divided into small units by the European capitalists. The units would later become African countries which were colonized by the imperialists to whom they were allocated during the scrabble and partition of Africa. The colonisers came in with all their structures including, religion, education, language, and politics and imposed them on Africans. By the time they bequeathed the flag independence to their colonies, their culture had been implanted into the minds and souls of the colonized hence making everything European to be accepted with little, if any, contest. Through scholars, Nationalists, and Pan-Africanists such as Franz Fanon, Sedor Senghor, Edward Said among others, Africans later on became conscious of the European cultural burden which they had readily accepted. They have forever found themselves at crossroad, wondering whether they should revert to their Afrocentric values or continue upholding Eurocentricism. Consequently, Africans have forever found themselves in “double-consciousness,” a state that makes them to struggle with two identities. This paper identifies language as a unit of culture and it aims at contributing to the on-going debate with regards to the language that Africans should adopt for their interactions that exonerates them from “othering” their own culture. The unit of analysis will cut across several examples drawn from both creative works and researches. In this paper, I will interrogate the texts and arguments within postcolonial framework. Specifically, I aim at enriching the debate on whether using European languages, with specific bias on English for interaction among Africans amounts to promoting Eurocentricsm. By so doing, I will explore the merits and demerits of using African languages, including Swahili, in an attempt to promote Afrocentricism. I will conclude the paper by pointing out at the possibility of strengthening the linguistic middle ground approach so as to benefit from both sides of the divide.