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Table of Contents
                            Table of contents
MEETING POINT
ACP-EEC
	Training and commodities: development priorities for the social partners
	Cooperation between ACP and EEC institutions and universities
COUNTRY REPORT
	THE GAMBIA : Market forces rule, O.K.
	Interview with President Sir Dawda Jawara
	The demise of the Senegambia Confederation
	The Gambia-EEC cooperation
ACP
	Structural adjustment - Niger : reforms under the first SAP
	Structural adjustment - Trinidad and Tobago: the issues and the evidence
	Controlling erosion in south-eastern Nigeria
EUROPE
	European Civil Protection: responding to disasters
DOSSIER: National languaucs
	National languages
	National languages and development
	The languages of Africa : an annotated map
	National languages in teaching
	The language of instruction : some statistics concerning sub-Saharan Africa
	Is a lingua franca possible in Nigeria?
	Seychelles: using Creole (Seselwa) in schools - a cultural challenge
	Functional literacy, agricultural extension work and local languages
	Language and authenticity : the case of Zaïre
	The use of Shona in Zimbabwe's press
	National languages on La Voix du Sahel
	Common language, different cultures
	I write in Gikuyu
	Languages in danger of disappearing : the case of Papua New Guinea
CLOSE-UP
	The National Sheep Rearing Centre, Béoumi
	Agbassa : a model for population transfer
	Gabon: producing fertilisers locally
DEVELOPING WORLD
	Cadmium: menace or myth?
CULTURE AND THE ARTS
	Towards a Pan-African Association for African oral tradition and heritage
	Makondé Art, traditional and modem
CTA-BULLETIN
	From paper to computers : IRETA information services in the South Pacific
	THE COURIER'S MAILBAG
	ANALYTICAL INDEX 1989
	BOOKS
	NEWS ROUND-UP (yellow pages)
	CDI - industrial opportunities
	OPERATIONAL SUMMARY (blue pages)
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

ISSN 1013­7335

e Courier
g AFRI<?A'­CARIBBEAN­PACIFIC ­ EUROPEAN COMMUNITY

Published every two months No 119. — JANUARY ­FEBRUARY 1990

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Page 2

THE EUROPEAN
COMMUNITY THE 66 ACP STATES

BELGIUM
DENMARK
FRANCE
GERMANY

(Federal Rep.)
GREECE
IRELAND
ITALY
LUXEMBOURG
NETHERLANDS
PORTUGAL
SPAIN
UNITED KINGDOM

General Secretariat
of the ACP Group

of States

Avenue Georges Henri, 451
1200 Brussels

Belgium
Tel. : 733 96 00

ANGOLA
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
BAHAMAS
BARBADOS
BELIZE
BENIN
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMEROON
CAPE VERDE
CENTRAL AFRICAN

REPUBLIC
CHAD
COMOROS
CONGO
COTE D'IVOIRE
DJIBOUTI
DOMINICA
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ETHIOPIA
FIJI
GABON

GAMBIA
GHANA
GRENADA
GUINEA
GUINEA BISSAU
GUYANA
JAMAICA
KENYA
KIRIBATI
LESOTHO
LIBERIA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALI
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOZAMBIQUE
NIGER
NIGERIA
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
RWANDA
ST. CHRISTOPHER & NEVIS
ST. LUCIA

ST. VINCENT & THE
GRENADINES

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE
SENEGAL
SEYCHELLES
SIERRA LEONE
SOLOMON ISLANDS
SOMALIA
SUDAN
SURINAME
SWAZILAND
TANZANIA
TOGO
TONGA
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
TUVALU
UGANDA
WESTERN SAMOA
VANUATU
ZAIRE
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE

FRANCE
(Territorial collectivities)
Mayotte
St Pierre and Miquelon

(Overseas territories)
New Caledonia and dependencies
French Polynesia
French Southern and Antarctic Territories
Wallis and Futuna Islands

NETHERLANDS
(Overseas countries)
Netherlands Antilles
(Bonaire, Curaçao, St Martin, Saba,
St Eustatius)
Aruba

DENMARK
(Country having special relations with Denmark)
Greenland

UNITED KINGDOM
(Overseas countries and territories)
Anguilla
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
Southern Sandwich Islands and dependencies
Montserrat
Pitcairn Island
St Helena and dependencies
Turks and Caicos Islands

This list does not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future.

The Courier uses maps from a variety of sources. Their use does not imply recognition of any particular boundaries nor prejudice the status of any state or
territory.

Cover page: In Judaeo-Christian tradition, the Tower of Babel symbolises the link between a single language and temporal
power. The Tower has been the subject of numerous paintings, and this one is by the 16th century Flemish painter Brueghel

the Elder (central portion of painting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria)

Page 73

DOSSIER

Common language, different cultures
by Seydina Oumar SY(*>

The French-speaking world is made
up of peoples with different cultures
but a common language, French.

I should like to start by mentioning
these cultural differences and stress
the need to respect everyone's individ­
uality and culture. This is the basis
for solidarity in a spirit of partner­
ship. But as well as these divergences,
we have a common bond—that lan­
guage which we, certainly even more
than the countries of the North, want
to see influential. We have different
cultures and every day we use lan­
guages which are often only spoken in
one or two countries.

Our international means of com­
munication is French and we, even
more than the French, do not want
French to die. It is not by chance that
it was Africans, the former President
of Senegal, Leopold Sédar Senghor,
and the former President of Niger,
Hamani Diori, who were the first to
launch the idea of this French-speak­
ing community and the need to
organise it. We see in it many advan­
tages and a possibility of communica­
tion, but we must also see in it a
means of developing our intellectual
faculties and our situation and mak­
ing them flourish. That is to say that,
if the French-speaking community is
to be a sound one, it must be willing
to listen to what each of its compo­
nents has to say. In the lexicon, in
France, people talk about the "arbre
à palabre" (a not wholly complimen­
tary term for the tree beneath which
discussions are held) rather patronis-
ingly, as if everything said there was
clap-trap, rather as the Anglo-Saxons
think that we French-speakers are
masters of the spoken word and very
eloquent and can make long, brilliant
speeches. Well, we must take up this

(*) The author, Senegal's Trade Minister,
delivered this paper at a study day in Nice in
December 1987, when he was Ambassador to
the EEC. The conference was run by the Institut
de la Paix et du Développement (Director,
Professor Maurice Torelli) at the University of
Nice and the proceedings were published by the
Presses Universitaires de France in its "Travaux
et Recherches de l'Institut du Droit de la Paix et
du Développement" collection under the title
of: "L'après-Québec: quelle stratégie pour la
francophonie?".

challenge and show that, in these
times, the French language, a lan­
guage of culture, can also be a mod­
ern language. This is particularly true
now that technology has taken us into
the satellite era, where the media are
to be extremely important—and it
has to be realised here that, although
the French-speaking community may
not be lagging behind as far as dis­
coveries are concerned, it is behind
when it comes to communicating and

A young Peul girl, in Senegal
" We have no intention of being
Frenchmen... the Senegalese need to

be Senegalese"

transmitting them. So many of the
expressions we use have been bor­
rowed from the Anglo-Saxons. So we
have to make an effort, not just to
modernise the language and maintain
it, but to make it a useful tool. And
here, I believe, the French-speaking
community also provides an oppor­
tunity for cooperation between the
countries of the North and the coun­
tries of the South.

"We do not want to
be black Frenchmen"

Our prime concern here in the
countries of the South, in the Third
World, afflicted as we are with eco­
nomic problems and with debt, is
survival and we will stick to the coun­
try which can help us tackle these
problems and take up these chal­
lenges, whatever its language. In this

act of solidarity, however, the best
placed, sentimentally speaking, are of
course those who speak the same lan­
guage as we do—although they have
to realise the fact and come try and
solve the problems with us. I think
that we in Senegal will try to show
what the problems of the South are.
We will try to get the French-speak­
ing community to cooperate, in the
etymological meaning of the term,
and to work together, because we
believe it is in the interests of us all.
But we still want to say that this
cooperation, this quest for solidarity,
should not be translated into a policy
of assimilation. We start with differ­
ent cultures, but we have no intention
of being black Frenchmen or black
Canadians or black Belgians. The
Vietnamese need to be Vietnamese,
the Senegalese Senegalese and the
Za'ireans Za'irean, but they can still
derive the means of developing or
nurturing their own faculties from
someone else. In other words, if the
French-speaking community is to
work, it must be a community of
solidarity and cooperation...

And what can we in the South do
for the organisation of this French-
speaking area? First of all, as I said at
the beginning, our contribution is dic­
tated by necessity. We need French
more than the French do because it is
our language of international commu­
nication and, until recently, we were
better proponents of the French-
speaking community than the French
people themselves. But, leaving this
necessity aside, we think we can con­
tribute a certain way of looking at
things. We think we have to help get
the cultures of the French-speaking
community known the world over,
because, as Leopold Sédar Senghor
would say, the universal civilisation
which will be the civilisation of
tomorrow is an act of giving and
receiving. And if there is no contribu­
tion we in the South are able to make,
then we have to agree to be the
perpetually assisted—a situation
unworthy of the countries of the
South and an attitude which would
prevent us from building a society
with the values we espouse, o S.O.S.

The Cnuricr no. 119 — January-February 1990 71

Page 74

DOSSIER

I write in Gikuyu
by Ngugi wa THIONGO<*>

The choice of language and the use to which language is put is central
to a people's definition of themselves in relation to their natural and social
environment, indeed in relation to the entire universe. Hence language has
always been at the heart of the two contending social forces in the Africa
of the twentieth century.

The contention started a hundred years ago when 'in 1884 the capitalist
powers of Europe sat in Berlin and carved an entire continent with a
multiplicity of peoples, cultures, and languages into different colonies. The
Berlin-drawn division under which Africa is still living was obviously
economic and political, but it was also cultural. Berlin in 1884 saw the
division of Africa into the different languages of the European powers.
African countries came to be defined and to define themselves in terms of
the languages of Europe : English-speaking, French-speaking or Portu-
guese-speaking African countries.

Unfortunately, writers who should have been mapping paths out of that
linguistic encirclement of their continent also came to be defined and to
define themselves in terms of the languages of imperialist imposition. Even
at their most radical and pro-African position, in their sentiments and
articulation of problems they still took it as axiomatic that the renais-
sance of African cultures lay in the language of Europe.

The language of African
literature

In 1962 I was invited to that his­
toric meeting of African writers at
Makerere University College, Kam­
pala, Uganda. The list of partici­
pants contained most of the names
which have now become the subject
of scholarly dissertations in universi­
ties all over the world.

The title, "A Conference of Afri­
can Writers of English Expression ",
automatically excluded those who
wrote in African languages. The dis­
cussions on the novel, the short
story, poetry, and drama were based
on extracts from works in English
and hence they excluded the main
body of work in Swahili, Zulu,
Yoruba, Arabic, Amharic and other
African languages. Yet, despite this
exclusion of writers and literature in
African languages, no sooner were
the introductory preliminaries over
than this Conference of "African
Writers of English Expression" sat

(*) Excerpts from "Decolonising the Mind
— the politics of language in African litera­
ture". Ngugu wa Thiong'o is one of Kenya's
best known authors.

down to the first item on the
agenda: "Wha t is African Litera­
ture?"

The debate which followed was
animated : Was it literature about
Africa or about the African experi­
ence? Was it literature written by
Africans? What about a non-African
who wrote about Africa : did his
work qualify as African literature?
What if an African set his work in
Greenland : did that qualify as Afri­
can literature? Or were African lan­
guages the criteria? OK : what about
Arabic, was it not foreign to Africa?
What about French and English,
which had become African lan­
guages? What if an European wrote
about Europe in an African lan­
guage? If... if... if... this or that,
except the issue; the domination of
our languages and cultures by those
of imperialist Europe : in any case
there was no Fagunwa or Shabaan
Robert or any writer in African lan­
guages to bring the conference down
from the realms of evasive abstrac­
tions. The question was never seri­
ously asked : did what we wrote
qualify as African literature? The
whole area of literature and

audience, and hence of language as a
determinant of both the national and
class audience, did not really figure :
the debate was more about the sub­
ject matter and the racial origins and
geographical habitation of the
writer.

English, like French and Portu­
guese, was assumed to be the natural
language of literary and even politi­
cal mediation between African peo­
ple in the same nation and between
nations in Africa and other conti­
nents. In some instances these Euro­
pean languages were seen as having a
capacity to unite African peoples
against divisive tendencies inherent
in the multiplicity of African lan­
guages within the same geographic
state. English, French and Portu­
guese had come to our rescue and we
accepted the unsolicited gift with
gratitude. Thus in 1964, Chinua
Achebe, in a speech entitled "The
African Writer and the English Lan­
guage", said :

" Is it right that a man should
abandon his mother tongue for
someone else's? It looks like a dread­
ful betrayal and produces a guilty
feeling. But for me there is no other
choice. I have been given the lan­
guage and I intend to use i t" .

An Afro-European tradition

The fact is that all of us who opted
for European languages—the confer­
ence participants and the generation
that followed them—accepted that
fatalistic logic to a greater or lesser
degree. We were guided by it and the
only question which preoccupied us
was how best to make the borrowed
tongues carry the weight of our Afri­
can experience by, for instance, mak­
ing them " p r e y " on African prov­
erbs and other peculiarities of Afri­
can speech and folklore.

What African writers have pro­
duced, despite any claims to the con­
trary, is not African literature. The
editors of the Pelican Guides to
English literature in their latest vol­
ume were right to include a discus­
sion of this literature as part of twen­
tieth-century English literature, just
as the French Academy was right to
honour Senghor for his genuine and
talented contribution to French liter­
ature and language. What we have

72

Page 145

BOOKS
amounts provided by their parents.
Or they go out to work.

To the best of my knowledge, this
is the first book of its kind. It is
clearly a useful piece of work and, as
such, should help generate greater
understanding about the conditions in
which the ACP students come and
stay in the European Community.
This is in everyone's interest, for, as
Raymond Chasle says, European stu­
dents have an opportunity " to spend
some of the decisive years of their
lives meeting people from a range of
cultural horizons". And are not many
people hoping to see the ACP-EEC
Convention generate a real inter-cul­
tural dialogue? oALAIN LACROIX

O O O

Francis MELI : South Africa belongs
to us: a History of the ANC. James
Currey Publishers, London 1989

Outlining the different strategies
pursued by the African National Con­
gress in its resistance to apartheid
whilst remaining committed to its
ultimate goal, a free, democratic and
non-racial South Africa, this new
book is the first history to be pub­
lished of South Africa's oldest politi­
cal party.

Meli's message to the reader is that
despite banning and harassment by
the South African government, the
ANC remains central to the future of
South Africa and that it is not possi­
ble to have a settlement in South
Africa which does not include the
African National Congress.

O O O

Elsa ASSIDON : Le commerce captif
(Captive trade) - L'Harmattan, 7,
rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, 75005,
Paris, France — 180 pages — 1989

Eisa Assidon's book is about three
French trading giants of Black Africa
—the CFAO (Compagnie Française
de l'Afrique Occidentale), the SCOA
(formerly Société Commerciale de
l'Ouest Africain) and Optorg.
Hitherto, these trading or import­
export companies as they are called
have been mainly of interest to histo­
rians and specialists on sub-Saharan
Africa but to a lesser extent to econ­
omists, who tend to look upon them
as relics of a bygone age.

How did they change from simple
traders to the importers and exporters
they are today, distributing compu­
ters, glassware, textiles, cars and food
on their traditional markets? Does
their keenness on investing in France
in recent times signify a kind of repa­
triation of once-colonial capital? Can
they become ordinary external trading
companies by setting up in other
countries too? The continued crisis of
the African economies, the latest
financial upheavals and the coming of
Europe's Single Market in 1993 mean
these countries have to take major
decisions—which are, on investiga­
tion, limited—for their future.

This work goes beyond a mere his­
tory of these firms and supplies infor­
mation about a particular commercial
domination. The structure of the mar­
kets and the method of monetarisa-
tion in trading economies reveal an
association between trading and mon­
etary domination going back to
before the creation of the franc zone.
The origins of this monetary integra­
tion and the fact that it has been
maintained since political indepen­
dence may well be the result of cap­
tive trade, over and above the tradi­
tionally highlighted institutional fac­
tors. The investigation and analysis in
this book shed fresh light on the
colonial heritage of Black Africa.

O O O

La dette extérieure, le développement
et la coopération internationale (Exter­
nal debt, development and interna­
tional cooperation) — Final report of
the NGO Conference in Lima (Peru)
in January 1988 - - Editions l'Har­
mattan, 5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytech­

nique, 75005, Paris, France
251 pages — 1988

The external debt of the Third
World countries, which weighs so
heavily on the poorest of them and
mortgages many a development
scheme, is no longer the province of
the international experts, having
become a rallying point both for the
peoples and the organisations that
represent them and for the develop­
ment NGOs.

The close correlation between debt,
development and democracy is an
idea which is making its presence felt.
It was behind the work of the Confer­
ence on Debt, Development and
International Cooperation which was
run by European and Peruvian devel­
opment NGOs in Lima in January of
last year under the banner of " not
paying the unpayable " and " we have
already paid the price" and ended
with a decision to promote various
debt campaigns and to bring out a
report on its work.

The Conference, attended by Latin
Americans, Europeans, Americans,
Canadians and Asians, was held with
financial contributions from a num­
ber of NGOs and the production and
distribution of the final report were
made possible by the Commission of
the European Communities as part of
a campaign to make the European
public aware of the debt issue.

This book, which looks at the eco­
nomic, social and political repercus­
sions of the debt crisis and investi­
gates development alternatives for the
people concerned, is a worthwhile
contribution to a subject under fre­
quent discussion.

THE COURIER
AFRICA CARIBBEAN PACIFIC

- EUROPEAN COMMUNITY

PUBLISHER
Dieter Frisch

Commission
of the European Communities

200, rue de la Loi
1049-BRUSSELS

(Belgium)
Tel. 235 11 11 (switchboard)
Telex COMEURBRU 21877

EDITOR
Marie-Hélène Birindelli

DEPUTY EDITOR
Lucien Pagni

ASSISTANT EDITORS
Roger De Backer
Amadou Traoré
Augustine Oyowe
Myfanwy van de Velde
Tom Glaser
SECRETARIAT:

Mary Beatty (235 75 87)
Viviane Jacquet (235 27 19)

CIRCULATION
Margriet Mahy-van der Werf (235 76 39)

Back cover : Creole is a language widely spoken in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti (photo) from where comes the Creole
proverb: " Sëvice presse, patate pas g uin pean " (When you are hungry, you eat the potato with its skin) (Photo Vivant

Univers)

Page 146

i

! i * .J« *

Publisher Dieter Frisch-CEC 200. rue de la Loi B-1049 Brussels — Printed in Belgium

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