President Macron recently made a statement highlighting the importance of the French language as a national treasure that must be preserved both at home and in their overseas territories. Many believe that Macron’s ‘overseas territories’ comment is a reference to Franco-phone African countries.
French nationals applauded Macron’s post; however, some Africans flooded the comment section criticizing his statement. Among those Africans is a Malian professor and a popular political commentator, Ramata Sissoho Cisse.
In her response to Macron’s statement, Ramata wrote, “This is why African countries should teach their children in their native language. Imagine if French children had been forced to study in German after World War II!”
Professor Sissohor further lamented the importance of using the native language in Africa’s educational system, “you can’t receive knowledge in a language you don’t master. African leaders should be encouraged to develop curriculum in local languages if we really want these countries to move forward”.
Another Malian supported the professor’s statement by stating that, “Imposing on the child a language that their parents and community don’t speak is an abuse and should be considered a crime.” Comments like this indicate that the French ‘assimilation’ system is obsolete and rapidly vanishing in Africa.
In its attempt to entrench control in Africa, France introduced a post-colonial system called assimilation to turn Africans into Frenchmen by adopting the French language and culture in Franco-phone Africa.