A recent comment by the French President, Emmanuel Macron has awakened an age-long conversation among Africans which bothers on a possible extinction of language and other cultural elements.
In a viral post, the President demonstrated the magnitude of relevance placed on the French culture and also provided details on the various means through which the French language as a cultural component has been sustained over the years both home and in their “territories.”
President Macron said that, “French languages are a national treasure. Everyone, whether from our metropolis or our overseas territories, keeps enriching our French culture. For decades, a major movement of immersive school transmission, through associations like Diwan, Seaska, Calendretas, Bressola, ABCM and others, has made these languages live and secure their future.”
“Nothing can hinder this decisive action carried out by many engaged, often volunteers, who have both the love of their region, the passion of France and the taste of the universal.” He said, adding that, “as President of the Republic, I am both protective of the French language and guardian of the wealth of our regional languages.”
This demonstrates their readiness to protect their cultural space as opposed to the rate at which African culture is being eroded in recent times.
Some political thinkers hold the view that western colonial powers force their languages down the throats of African countries either as a requirement for aid or colonial authority of old. Other schools of thought faulted African leaders for not taking measures to maintain value for our culture.
Currently, French and English languages have been adopted by many African countries as compulsory subjects in schools whilst other countries implement such as official languages at the expense of their native language(s).
The world is becoming a global village hence, the adoption of these languages could be argued on this basis as well as the emerging need for ease of communication. However, the exchange of culture is mostly unilateral and not reciprocal.
African languages are not given such priority in foreign countries as has been the case on the continent. Moreover, Africans seem to be the easiest to let go or supplement their culture for another, posing threats of cultural extinction. What do you think can be done to sustain the African cultural values in today’s global world?