Tag: Languages

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The vital role of indigenous languages

As the Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), a specialised institution of the African Union, Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe is committed to the development of African languages. ACALAN aims to revolutionise current approaches, the strategies to be adopted and the ultimate goals and objectives to promote the use of African languages in all domains of society, particularly in education systems, in partnership […]

Field Stories

African traditions online

African traditions are under threat. While younger generations increasingly desire to move to the big cities, emigrate, or assimilate, globalisation has brought external cultures into competition with local ones, leaving many of these older structures close to dissolution. One proposed solution to this erosion of tradition is the ATOE (African Traditions Online Encyclopaedia) – a Wikipedia-style, user-generated website that will amass the collected knowledge, […]

Field Stories

International Mother Language Day 2014

It’s impossible to encapsulate the variety of Africa’s languages in a single picture. The Continent’s complex history has had an equally complex effect on language. Some languages are vast, spoken over great distances by tens of millions. Some are tiny, spoken by single villages, towns or tribes. Many of these languages, which each encode millennia of tradition, history and culture, are critically endangered: one […]


“No country can make progress on the basis of a borrowed language”

Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah is the founder of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), a civil society, Pan-African organisation which focuses on African development through the lens of cultural, social, historical, political and economic research. Currently, through the CASAS Harmonization and Standardization of African Languages Project, Professor Prah and CASAS are working towards improving African literacy rates. By forming standardised groupings […]


Restoring the Vernacular: the 60-year struggle for African languages

How can children reach their full potential, when their early education is taught in a language that they are both uncomfortable and unfamiliar with? In countries with diverse linguistic communities this is the harsh reality for many children growing up as part of a minority group. In Africa, the problem is rendered especially tricky by the prevalence of foreign and colonial languages in education, […]