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Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

Linguistic Pan-Africanism as a Global Future

About the Speaker – Professor Dr. Adams Bodomo, FGA

Professor of African Studies (Chair of Linguistics and Literatures),
University of Vienna, African Studies Department.

Honorary Director, International Collaborative Research Center For Language and Culture (ICRCLC), School of Liberal Arts, Xi’an University, Xi’an, China

President, Federation Internationale de Langues et Litteratures Modernes (FILLM)


Synopsis of Lecture

Pan-Africanism is a dominant ideological notion in Africa and its diaspora. As a notion, it means that Africa, Africans, and all people of African descent can only stand to gain a better future if the continent and its people unite and pool their resources together politically, economically, and socially.

There are therefore different levels of pan-Africanism. These include unity at the political level, with the African Union as the flagship body for ensuring this aspect of pan-Africanism. There is an economic pan-Africanism that encourages the development of more integrated markets and trading zones.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a flagship project of economic pan-Africanism. This lecture proposes and analyses the notion of linguistic pan-Africanism as an important aspect of the general notion of pan-Africanism. Linguistic pan-Africanism is the notion that encourages the pooling together of Africa’s linguistic resources towards better and more efficient communication and cultural development on the African continent. Without linguistic pan-Africanism it would be hard to achieve political, economic, and cultural pan-Africanism. Linguistic pan-Africanism encourages the promotion of major indigenous lingua franca in the different regions of Africa.

The ultimate aim may be the creation of a pan-African lingua franca, with a language like Swahili as a strong candidate. Swahili, or Afrihili as some pan-Africanists would like to call it, can be developed as a major global language in the not-too-distant future.

The lecture interrogates aspects of these notions with a view to addressing questions such as: how can Africa place itself linguistically to compete economically and culturally? What are the strategies for evolving and implementing effective pan-Africanist language policies to ensure that Africa has a bright global future?