SAFARA

REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE
LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES

N°11 janvier 2012
ISSN 0851-4119
UFR de Lettres & Scien...
SAFARA
REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE
LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES
UFR de Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Be...
SOMMAIRE
Revisiting African Education For African Development
Through Indigenous African Languages ………………..….
5
Pierre GOM...
Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université
Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012

Revisiti...
6

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

It is also necessary to take note of the above especially when
...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

7

Language policies could be developed through holistic means...
8

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

order to meet their demands and targets within the framework of...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

9

outcomes could be qualitatively improved. Results of learni...
10

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

African history or language (Menang: 2001). When an African
co...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

11

in African indigenous cultures and languages as a tool for...
12

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

are comfortable to spontaneously and creatively express their ...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

13

To achieve this, indigenous African languages should be gi...
14

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

the population (Batibo 1995: P.68) in Tanzania and other East
...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

15

Kant, E., 1960, Observation on the feelings of the beautif...
16

P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development

Senkoro, F.E.M (2005), Language of Instruction: The Forgotten ...
Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université
Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012

Francoph...
18

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

thus enriched for their progeny. Then there is the Francophoni...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

19

foreign language, not a mother tongue; which is also the c...
20

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

is also the case in the Maghreb, especially in Morocco, where ...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

21

eyes of the colonizer, Africa south of Sahara would be the...
22

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

in customs and language” (in Spencer 1974: 163). About a centu...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

23

Irene d'Almeida (Spear in 2002) is therefore right to beli...
24

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

and the laughing stock of independent creators 10. "(Mongo Bét...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

25

delay in African studies in France 11 compared to what hap...
26

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

matter what is said, is far from being considered as part of t...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

27

diversification 16" (33; my translation; see also Calvet, ...
28

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

liberation is well documented 19. But their importance as a
ch...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

29

only about 10% of the population that truly masters the la...
30

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

reasons have to be looked for outside multilingualism (see als...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

31

chief of the Francophonie movement. 21” (Kom 2000:111; my
...
32

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

Ministry of Cooperation and its editors are all staff of that ...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

33

Moreover, local cultures are much more developed in the
En...
34

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

Master or a PhD entirely written and defended in these languag...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

35

(my translation) It is also our conviction. Moreover, the ...
36

C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara

Labouret, Henri. « L’éducation des indigènes : méthodes
britan...
Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université
Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012

Transtex...
38

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

Introduction
One thing that catches attention after readin...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

39

In this essay - concentrating on a work by each writer (In...
40

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

threshold. It is a “zone between text and off-text, a zone...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

41

the end of a long season of affliction- “In the fog of the...
42

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

perpetuating terror machine.” 9 In this respect, in A Dry,...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

43

blacks but also whites (like Ben du Toit) who are pegged a...
44

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

So they certainly keep one aware of their
presence. 13
In ...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

45

The Fog is La Guma’s only novel that opens with a prologue...
46

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

significant as the plot of The Fog is “illuminated by the ...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

47

whether by decree or by the operation of censorship and th...
48

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

2. Snippets of Intertextuality.
Roland Barthes asserts tha...
Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012

49

Jonathan. In the same vein, he meets the real face of the ...
50

K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction

rejection of blacks (the “other”) is further implied in th...
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SAFARA est une revue internationale de langues, littératures et culture publiée chaque année par la Section d'Anglais de l'UFR des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal.

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Revue Safara numéro 11 - janvier 2012

  1. 1. SAFARA REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES N°11 janvier 2012 ISSN 0851-4119 UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, BP 234, Sénégal
  2. 2. SAFARA REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES UFR de Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger, BP 234 Saint Louis, Sénégal Tel +221 33 961 23 56 Fax +221 .. 961 1884 E-Mail : safara@ugb.sn Directeur de Publication : Omar SOUGOU Université Gaston Berger COMITÉ SCIENTIFIQUE Omofolabo Flora Chima Mwamba Mamadou Ernest Graham Simon Mamadou A-SOYINKA (Kansas, USA) ALEXANDER (Royaume-Uni) ANYADIKE (Nigeria) CABAKULU (Sénégal) CAMARA (Sénégal) EMENYONU (N. Carol., USA) FURNESS (Royaume-Uni) GIKANDI (Princeton, USA) KANDJI (Sénégal) Baydallaye Edris Maweja Mustapha Molara Fiona Ndiawar Harold Marième KANE (Sénégal) MAKWARD (Wisc., USA) MBAYA (Sénégal) MUHAMMAD (Nigeria) OGUNDIPE (Ghana) MCLAUGHLIN (Kans., USA) SARR (Sénégal) SCHUEB (Wisc., USA) SY (Sénégal) COMITE DE RÉDACTION Rédacteur en Chef Badara SALL, UGB Co-Rédacteur en Chef Obododimma OHA, Ibadan, Nigeria Secrétaire de Rédactions Babacar DIENG, UGB Mamadou Ba, UGB Assistante de rédaction Khadidiatou Diallo, UGB Administrateur et trésorier Abdoulaye BARRY Relations extérieures Baydallaye KANE Membres Oumar FALL, UGB Olusegun ADEKOYA, Nigeria Fallou NGOM, Washington Lawan SHUAIB, Nigeria © Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, 2011 ISSN 0851-4119
  3. 3. SOMMAIRE Revisiting African Education For African Development Through Indigenous African Languages ………………..…. 5 Pierre GOMEZ Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara: Specificity, Challenges and Perspectives ………………………………………… Chaibou Elhadji OUMAROU 17 Transtextuality in South African Fiction: The Novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink …………………………… 37 Khadidiatou DIALLO “Cane is Bitter”: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History …..… Julia UDOFIA 69 .Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier : Les replis d’un texte …. Boubacar CAMARA 83 Meurtre sacré et mort profane. Enjeux des tableaux narrativisés dans A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans ……… 101 Issa NDIAYE Lenrie Peters: The eagle-eyed socio-political Observer …….. Pierre GOMEZ 121
  4. 4. Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Revisiting African Education for African Development through Indigenous African Languages Pierre Gomez* Moving into the 21st century, and the world becoming more globalised than never before, the African has a responsibility to create a developmental paradigm to pave the way for socioeconomic progress. In this process, Africans must begin to decide and design a development strategy that is African, one which is based on African education through African languages and one which is responsive to the needs of the African as the Africans response to globalization. How can this be achieved? There is an urgent need for us to re-conceptualize our education, re-connect to our culture and languages and most critically design an indigenous educational paradigm that is linked to African languages and realities. This debate has captured the interest of many high-profile scholars such as Wali (1963), Ngugi (1986), Mafeje (1994), Menang (2001) among others. The theme of language in African educational systems continues to be a contentious issue in post-Independence African countries. The importance of using the child’s mothertongue as the medium of instruction at school was underscored by UNESCO (UNESCO: 1953). Moreover, this organization continues to uphold the view that the choice of an instructional language and policies concerning language in schools are critical for any meaningful teaching and learning to take place (UNESCO: 2005). The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) also clearly maintains that language is an important determinant for quality education (ADEA: 2004). * Senior Lecturer Ag. Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, the University of The Gambia.
  5. 5. 6 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development It is also necessary to take note of the above especially when one considers the fact that in most African educational systems, the medium continues to be the language of the colonial masters. Children continue to start school using a foreign language (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2010). Thus the need to integrate indigenous African languages in African schools as mediums of communication cannot be overemphasized. This is necessary in order to make the education that African children continue to receive more relevant to their needs and aspirations. There should be a call to use African languages in acquiring and disseminating knowledge for the purpose of sustainable education. Most African societies – if not all – are multilingual. This is to say that learners in African schools would have gained some degree of proficiency in their L1s even before starting to learn a foreign language. The only difference is in the syntactic and morphological structures between the mother-tongue and the foreign language they are obliged to acquire. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in its 2010 report aptly states: “…the choice of languages, their recognition and sequencing in the education system, the development of their expressive potential, and their accessibility to a wider audience should […] be gradual, concentric and be done in an all-inclusive approach”. It is therefore imperative to note that a step-by-step integration of African languages in educational systems shall yield far reaching benefits for both learners and society. Local languages, if properly utilized, could complement foreign languages as mediums of instruction in African classrooms. The multiplicity of languages in African societies could bring about effective communications and unity contrary to the widely held view that it could be a “communication barrier, and would engender conflicts and tensions” (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2010). The existence of a variety of speech communities which use different languages could be effective in matters of governance, communication and above all, education. In essence, African languages could be instrumental tools in reshaping the lives and dreams of entire generations.
  6. 6. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 7 Language policies could be developed through holistic means to enhance social cohesion and overall linguistic and academic development of learners. Thus concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the business of education are needed to make learning vibrant. In fact, African languages could be used as mediums of instruction in schools to enhance students’ understanding of concepts that are abstract and alien to them. When carefully selected and utilized, they can positively improve learner’s performance in the achievement of set down educational goals and targets. Also, with the use of indigenous languages, and increased access to learning materials, there will be massive community participation in the educational arena. Thus, capacities of both the beneficiaries and implementers of education shall be enhanced to reasonable degrees. In its 2003 Biennial Meeting, ADEA succinctly stated that African languages could be determinants for quality education. Education for All Global Monitoring Report (2006), in concord with ADEA, also asserted that “improving the quality of education is one of the six goals of education”. These assertions have set the motion for an all-out debate on the use of the mother-tongue with a view to improving the educational performances of learners. Linguistic diversity could bring to light the linguistic reality of a country. Through a well-planned and coordinated language learning programme, community activities could be clearly outlined. According to Djite (2008) and Stronel (2002), a linguistically empowered and creative people are able to contribute more effectively to economic growth. This view is vital to note because community life in African settings is characterized by the use of languages. Moreover, access to knowledge and information technology through the use of African languages is critical in boosting the productive capacities of beneficiaries. The language industry can greatly complement the creative industry through the effective use of mother-tongue based instruction or communication. African languages continue to be relevant in education and commerce. Djite (2008) discusses the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity for development from the perspective of health, education, governance and the economy. Industrial countries could help in the development of strategies based on the realities on the ground in
  7. 7. 8 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development order to meet their demands and targets within the framework of efficient and healthy competitions. This shall enable education planners and partners to effectively support drives that are necessary to make education meaningful and responsive to the needs of the people. The argument in most intellectual circles that most African languages are too costly and time-consuming to integrate in the mainstream of educational systems should not be given much consideration. This is because as language develops in use, it could be used to meet set down targets using cost effective strategies. In Senegal for instance, Associates in Research and Education for Development (ARED) publish in Pulaar to respond to the Pulaar community’s need and demand for Pulaar literature. ARED’s main aim among other things is to go beyond basic and functional literacy materials with a view to making their interventions broad-based and in line with the changing needs of their beneficiaries. Using the mother-tongue is the medium of instruction in schools continues to draw the attention of many scholars. This is because the learner’s L1 could greatly help him to better comprehend abstract concepts that are supposed to be developed at an early stage. Schools should build on the skills and expertise in the first languages as language learning takes place in all subjects, not only in language classes (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong learning, 2010). Macdonald (1990) found that the frequent switch from one medium of instruction to another continues to be responsible for the inadequate linguistic proficiency of many early learners. Thus, a good number of such learners eventually find it impossible to be able to appropriately get themselves immersed in the foreign language of instruction. Alidou and Brock- UTRE, 2006; 87 outlined that some students, particularly girls, avoid speaking in class especially if the language of instruction is unfamiliar to them to avoid being “ridiculed”. Girls are more likely to participate actively in the classroom when the language of instruction is the local language (World Bank, 2000). With a carefully planned language instructional strategy, learning in African schools could be greatly enhanced. Learning
  8. 8. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 9 outcomes could be qualitatively improved. Results of learning objectives will be greatly enhanced. This implies that Africans must start to take ownership of their own education, not in isolation, but within the global context of new technological flows and information orders. In “Decolonizing the Mind” (1986), Ngugi Wa Thiong’o argues that the control of the African mind during the transAtlantic slave trade and colonial periods was done through the devaluation, at best, and destruction, at worst, of the African peoples culture, art, dances, religions, history, geography, education, and literature. Most crucial, of course, was the domination of the African languages by the languages of the colonial masters. This was necessary for them to be able to dominate the mental universe of the African and this necessity was explained away by the prejudicial assumption that “what we understand by Africa is the unhistorical under-developed spirit, still involved in the condition of nature” (Hegel, 1991:93). In the same vein, both Emmanuel Kant (1960) and David Hume (1964) believe in the inferiority of the Black race vis-à-vis the Whites. Therefore, in the family of nations the African is “a lateborn child” according to Lugard (1968). African culture and history are rich and their scientific exploitation and popularization are a sure path to progress and survival. The Gambia is one of those countries that could serve as a glaring example in terms of cultural wealth. Her culture places high premium on the respect of the integrity of women, and of marriage to ensure harmony and procreation and the expansion of the family. Before colonialism, venereal diseases were almost unknown in The Gambia and the soundness of the cultural values transmitted to the present generation explains why the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in this country is among the lowest in Africa. Wealth should not be defined in fiscal terms alone. African culture and tradition are also her wealth and academics are invited to explore further into the intrinsic cultural morality of traditional Gambians. It is evident that the continued effort to control the African mind by controlling his language is so strong. This has resulted in what Ngugi (1998, P.89) refers to as a continent of “bodiless heads and headless bodies”. Yet in the 21st century it is not surprising to find Africans dismissing any recognition of positive experiences in
  9. 9. 10 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development African history or language (Menang: 2001). When an African conspires to denigrate Africa (Emmanuel Kwofie: 1972) and her glorious past while admiring and eulogizing the totality of Eurocentrism and trying to be what Ali and Alamin Mazrui (1998: P.137) term Afro-Saxons; there is definitely a mental and developmental problem. The role of the African people in taking the lead in designing the development of their societies through Africancentered education by using African indigenous languages is central to Africa’s socio-economic development. Africans must start to take ownership of their own educational systems so that they find solutions to Africa’s myriad problems. Indeed, our continent is confronted with a plethora of mammoth problems and challenges that permeate through every single fabric of our human lives. These include health, education, socio- economic, political to name just a few. A prominent African sombrely summarizes the African situation thus: Once a region with rich natural resources as well as bountiful stores of optimism and hope, the African continent now teeters perilously on the brink of economic disintegration, political chaos, institutional and social decay. While this appraisal of Africa might seem too depressing, very few Africans would want to disagree with this observation that Africa has been experiencing regression, rather than progress, not only in the economic sphere, but also in the social and political spheres. It is against this backdrop that it is deemed necessary to rethink, revisit and re-conceptualize education in Africa to contribute to the socio-political and economic transformation of the continent. Another prominent scholar on African studies also observes that colonial education was Eurocentric and ignored the achievements and contributions of the indigenous populations and their ancestries; and that education in Africa is still struggling to rid itself of this colonial legacy. It is time for Africans to liberate themselves from this Eurocentric colonial legacy if any meaningful development is to be achieved. This can only be done by underpinning African education
  10. 10. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 11 in African indigenous cultures and languages as a tool for sociopolitical transformation. Strictly speaking, there is a strong nexus between language, education and development (Mbaabu: 1996). It is indeed true that development in any country has to do with the improvement of the social, cultural, economic and political lives of the people. However, this paper will be confined to the nexus between language, education, socio-economic development and the international environment. There is evidence pointing to the fact that there is a correlation between language, education and economic development; and this lies in the nexus between language and education on the one hand, and education and development on the other, all evolving within a given international context. It is axiomatic that language plays a critical role in education. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o identifies two aspects in every language: one is its role as an agent that enables us to communicate with one another in our struggle to find our means of survival; the other aspect is its role as a carrier of the history and the culture built into the process of that communication over time. The two aspects, he concludes, are inseparably linked and form a dialectical unity, describing language as the collective memory bank of a people. Going back to the role of language in education and consequently in development, this paper earlier emphasized the role of language in education. It is through linguistic interaction between teachers and learners on one hand, and among learners on the other, that knowledge is produced. Certainly, language learning proper, Bunyi argues, is an important component of the education itself. Accordingly, much of the children’s early years in school are spent on developing their linguistic skills. Such years are said to be spent on literacy development. Being one of the most multilingual continents, and therefore the most linguistically complex area of the world, postIndependence Africa needs to revisit and re-examine what type of literacy must support her policies as regards indigenous languages in education. It is therefore clear that “the use, misuse or even the non-use of a culture to which language belongs, can have a very fundamental impact on the minds of those who would have otherwise excelled, had they been taught and made to articulate their thoughts in a language they understand, a language that they
  11. 11. 12 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development are comfortable to spontaneously and creatively express their ideas and experiences in” (Senkoro: 2005, P.15) The relationship between literacy and economic development has already been confirmed and established, and UNESCO concludes in a study that illiteracy has a close correlation with poverty and underdevelopment. This suggests that in order to achieve meaningful development, literacy rates in Africa, especially south of the Sahara, must be raised. Needless to say, policies as regards indigenous languages in education will have a positive impact on the success of African development. The spread of languages such as English, French and Portuguese was concomitant with the advent of colonialism. Consequently, the educational role of these various languages has been, arguably, more destructive than constructive: “With the benefit of hindsight, one can only conclude that the colonial administration machine, knowing the important role of language in shaping one’s identity, initiated language policies that were meant to subdue their subjects, making them more susceptible to western languages and cultures. Many began to disdain their languages and other cultural practices, trying instead very hard to learn the western way” (Mohochis: 2005, P.5). Furthermore, whether through practice or by attitudes, the colonial languages have come to enjoy unparalleled pride and prestige in formal education in Africa. Ironically, it is African indigenous languages that have been and continue to be neglected in the formal education in Africa. As long as the denigration and devaluation of the African indigenous languages continue, no meaningful development can take place in the continent. It is time Africans domesticated African educational institutions by creating a strong relationship between indigenous languages and education for the purpose of socioeconomic development. This, combined with the use of ICTs as tools, can be fruitful in the drive to achieve new goals as set out in the 21st Century agenda. Indigenizing education needs a total social re-engineering and this is not only vital, but also immensely necessary if Africans want to promote and effect socio-structural change and to meet educational needs for socio-economic development.
  12. 12. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 13 To achieve this, indigenous African languages should be given a more central role in education in Africa so as to contribute to the much needed social, economic and political transformations. The enormity and difficulty of this task is self-evident because of Africa’s socio-linguistic complexity. Language is constantly evolving and the language policy in Africa today must take into consideration its utility, and its integration into regional and continental supranational institutions. Language, as an instrument of development, should serve the African and not the other way round. It should not be an instrument that is used to construct ethnicity and nationality which are fluid in most contemporary African societies. As an instrument of development, language should be effectively used as a tool to bridge the inequality gap that exists among the different strata of African societies. Within the context of social and economic development, it should be used to harness the hopes and aspirations of the African people. It could, at all cost, be used to portray the wishes and aspirations of the African people within the framework of economic and social development; very far from the notion that it will create ethnic strife. Afro-centric scholars of contemporary times could use language to counter the prejudices and bias in the colonial literature concerning the black man (Okolo: 2005). It should be used to redefine the black man as opposed to the Eurocentric definitions and interpretations of him. A close re-examination of indigenous African languages shall bring to light realities concerning African culture, values, knowledge, beliefs and standards. This, to a large extent, shall unlock the mystery that has for a long time surrounded the African cosmological system. In fact, local languages could be effective tools that could be used to identify and strengthen the bonds that exist between and among the diverse ethnic groups in African societies. In some extreme situations, they could be used not only to intimately connect peoples and societies, but also to identify their different cultural identities and locations. The different linguistic groupings and languages could be harmonized with the different speakers adopting one as the lingua franca. Kiswahili is a typical example: it is spoken by almost 95% of
  13. 13. 14 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development the population (Batibo 1995: P.68) in Tanzania and other East African countries with more than 120 local languages according to Roy-Campbell and Qorro: 1997 (quoted by Senkoro: 2005, P.7). Wollof could be the Kiswahili of the Senegambia region if the will is there. With that, one could clearly see the unifying nature of the language within a complex sociolinguistic setting. Furthermore, post-Independence African countries continue to grapple with problems associated with language. This is because rather than serving as a unifying and developmental tool, it is used in many instances to divide the masses. Thus, a complete rethinking on the use of language for social reorientation and development is essential in both political and intellectual discourses within and among the African academic circles. This shall help unlock the mystery that surrounds the different African linguistic units within the broader context of development. Debates over the roles of African languages in social, political and economic transformations in African societies need to be at the forefront of debates concerning language as a tool for development and progress in post-Independence Africa. It is urgent to address the challenges that the colonially imposed languages represent for students and scholars in Africa as they strive to understand their linguistic identities within a global framework. The exercise should not be restricted but broadened in order to create a healthy intellectual reflection on the issue. References: Conrad, J., 1950, ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1899), in Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer, New York: Penguin Publishers. Hegel, G.W.E., 1991, The Philosophy of History, Trans. J. Sibree, Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. Hume, D., 1964, ‘Of National character’, in Thomas Hill Green and Thomas H. Grose, eds., The Philosophical works, Darmstadt 3, no 1.
  14. 14. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 15 Kant, E., 1960, Observation on the feelings of the beautiful sublime, Trans. J.I, Goldthwait: Berkeley and Los Angeles. Kenya”, Journal of African Cultural Studies, vol. 16 no. 1, pp. 85-94. Kwofie, E.N., 1972, ‘The Language question and Language consciousness in West Africa’, African Studies Association of the West Indies, Bulletin no. 5. December. Lugard, (1922), The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. Lugard, F.D., (1968), The Rise of our East African Empires, vol. 1, London: Frank Cass. Mafeje, Archie. (1994). ‘African intellectuals: an inquiry into their genesis and social options’ in Mamdani, Mahmood and Mamadou Diouf eds. Academic freedom in Africa. Dakar: CODESRIA Mazrui, A.A and Mazrui, A. (1995), Swahili, State and Society: The Political Economy of and African Language, Nairobi & London: East African Educational Publishers Mbaabu, I. (1996), Language Policy in East Africa, Nairobi: Educational Research and Publications. Mohochi, E.S. (2005), “Language and Regional Integration: Foreign or African Languages for the African Union?” In F.A. Yieke (ed.), East Africa: In Search of National and Regional Renewal, Codesria, Dakar, pp. 41-54. Mohochi, S., Turning to Indigenous Languages for Increased Citizen Participation in the African Development Process, http://www.codesria.org/IMG/pdf/mohochi.pdf Ngugi wa Thiong’O, (1986), Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Okolo, M., (2005), Reassessing the Impact of Colonial Languages on the African Identity for African Development, CODESRIA’s 11th General Assembly, December 6 – 10, 2005 Onoma, A.K. (2005), The Language Question: an Anti-essentialist Excavation, CODESRIA General Assembly, Maputo, Mozambique, 6-10 December, 2005
  15. 15. 16 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development Senkoro, F.E.M (2005), Language of Instruction: The Forgotten Factor in Education Quality and Standards in Africa, CODESRIA General Assembly, Maputo, Mozambique, 6-10 December, 2005 UNESCO (2010 ), Why and how Africa should invest in African languages and multilingual education - An evidence- and practice-based policy advocacy brief, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning UNESCO, (1968), "The Use of Vernacular Languages in education: The Report of the UNESCO Meeting of Specialists", in. J.A. Fishman (ed.), pp. 688-716.
  16. 16. Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara: Specificity, Challenges and Perspectives Chaibou Elhadji OUMAROU * Introduction What do we mean when we talk about Francophonie? For Jean Claude Blachère (1993: 7), francophonie is a concept “not stabilized, its geography is fuzzy, its history poorly known, and its definition feeds perplexity.” This is especially because “It is difficult, indeed, to say who speaks French in black Africa- to limit ourselves to this space- and what it means to speak French: a little, a lot, passionately "? Even the concept of "francophone," says Jean Claude Blachère (1993: 7), is ambiguous because it "should cover only situations of orality 1" while it is used without question to describe an opaque monster called "francophone literature 2." Ambroise Kom (2000) describes Francophonie as a machine with three speeds. First there is the Francophonie of the North whose space covers France, Quebec, Acadia, Belgium and Switzerland in particular. In all these countries, he adds, French, as a mother tongue, is an ancient heritage of which the heirs and custodians are trying to manage in the best of their skills with the aim to making it grow and expand beyond their borders and leave it * Enseignant chercheur à l’Université Abou Moumouni, Niger. 1 La francophonie est un concept « non stabilisé, sa géographie est floue, son histoire mal connue, et sa définition alimente la perplexité, » d’autant plus qu’ « Il est bien difficile, en effet, de dire qui parle français en Afrique noire- pour s’en tenir à cet espace- et ce que c’est que parler français : un peu, beaucoup, passionnément ?» (p.7) 2 See also Jean-Louis Joubert et al. Les Littératures francophones depuis 1945. Paris : Bordas, 1986.
  17. 17. 18 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara thus enriched for their progeny. Then there is the Francophonie of the Arab world, that of Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even Egypt. This Francophonie is similar with that of Asia. Finally, there is the Francophonie of Africa south of Sahara. The latter is the focus of this paper, especially its specificity, its challenges and its future prospects. To better understand that specificity, we have to go back in history and reopen the issue of the cultural and linguistic policy of France in order to look for and explain the historical, political and cultural roots of the Francophonie in sub-Saharan Africa. The challenges to this Francophonie will then be analyzed through the colonial policy of France and its consequences on the educational and cultural development in the countries concerned. The analysis will allow us to project the future of a new and more dynamic Francophonie for Africa. Note that if necessary the cultural and linguistic policy of France will be compared to that of Great Britain. The purpose of this comparison will be to better identify the "mistakes" of the Francophonie and learn from the Anglophone experience. The specificity of the Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara As already explained above, with the francophone of the North the expansion of the French language is always received with some satisfaction. What is more, in all these countries the people rightly claim the right and freedom to live, to dream and develop their "daily life in French;" which, briefly, defines the Francophonie of the North in opposition to the one of the South. The latter in turn has different characteristics depending on geography and history. Indeed, in Africa Ibnlfassi Laila and Nicki (1996: 6) have found the Francophone literature from both sides of the Sahara "fascinating because of the differences emerging from the two corners of a shared continent which experienced similar colonial histories, albeit in slightly different forms." Thus the central question that interests us at this point in terms of definition is to know what the Francophonie in Asia and in the Maghreb have in common and what distinguishes them from both the Francophonie of the North and the one of black Africa. Unlike in the North, in Asia and in North Africa French is either a second language or a
  18. 18. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 19 foreign language, not a mother tongue; which is also the case in Africa south of Sahara. But unlike black Africa, the Arab world, it is said, is culturally and linguistically homogeneous. Here in the Arab world language, culture and religion intermingle against the background of centuries-old Islamic civilization recognized as such by the colonizer 3. A. C. Brench (1967 :100-101) suggests that recognition when he explains how the perception and approach of the colonizer toward the Muslims were colored by the expansion of Islam into Europe where it took roots and even came into conflict with the Christian religion. So for Brench (ibid.), "This is one of the many and varied reasons why it [Islam] has been treated with circumspection and respect by the various administrations. During the colonial period, Muslims were permitted a certain amount of religious and political autonomy by the administration and missionaries. They were not treated as unsophisticated pagans and their beliefs, although considered erroneous, were respected 4.” Indeed, in the eyes of the French colonizer, there is one major difference that distinguishes the colonized peoples of Black Africa from the ones of Asia and North Africa. For example, unlike the former, the latter are considered as peoples "of ancient civilization, but vanquished (Antoine Leon 1991: 266), as it is the case in Indochina and North Africa. This recognition by the colonizer of the ancient nature of the civilizations of these peoples has therefore been one of the major reasons that led to adopt an attitude more conciliatory and respectful of their cultural and linguistic identities in comparison to the attitude of the same colonizer in non Islamized black Africa. The most illustrative example of this attitude was the conciliatory approach to teaching in elementary education. Indeed, Leon (ibid.) tells us that in Indochina the instruction is given in the native language during the first three years of primary education. It 3 4 See also Jean-Marc Moura. La litterature des lointains: histoire de l’exotisme europeen au XXe siècle. Paris : Honore Champion, 1998. See also Birgit Meyer et al., eds. Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure. Oxford: Institute of Social Studies/Blackwell Publishers, 1999: 75.
  19. 19. 20 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara is also the case in the Maghreb, especially in Morocco, where "the language of the colonizer and that of the colonized [Arabic] are used jointly" (266, emphasis added). This educational approach is reminiscent of the one adopted by Great Britain in all its African colonies. Maybe we can also read some influence of the British policy of Indirect Rule on the French colonial administration as well as a recognition, even implicit, by the French, of its effectiveness. In all cases, Mahmood Mamdani (1996 :82-3) confirms this hypothesis when he writes that the change from the French policy of assimilation to that of association in Africa south of Sahara was inspired by both the experience of France in Indochina and Algeria, but also by " the British example next door”. This, Mamdani says, has enabled France to appreciate "the need for a native cultural policy rather than assimilation." Unfortunately, despite the good educational outcomes produced by this method, which involves the teaching of local languages in primary education before the language of the colonizer, France did not implement the teaching of local languages in its system of education in Africa South of the Sahara, preferring a policy of assimilation much more rigorous and glottophage, to paraphrase Jean-Louis Calvet (1993). Now the question is why, of all its colonies, it was only in those in Africa south of Sahara that France rigorously applied its policy of assimilation? In response to this question, the chief colonial administrator in charge of education in Cochin China first recognizes that "it is a common sense that the teaching of early childhood education is given in the mother tongue of the child." Of course he means when the teaching concerns "civilized" people with "ancient civilization" like the ones from Asia and North Africa. But the same philosophy does not apply in Black Africa because, according to the same colonial administrator, French is essential, in the first years, for "the education of barbarous or semi-civilized peoples."(Leon, 1991: 288; emphasis added) Michael Crowder (1962: 3) also observed that the attitude of the French colonizer towards the Africans south of the Sahara was different because this part of the continent was regarded as having "no indigenous culture worthy of the name.” So in the
  20. 20. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 21 eyes of the colonizer, Africa south of Sahara would be the habitat of "barbarians"; "a cultural desert," would say Gabriel Manessy (1994). To materialize this approach to cultural and linguistic policy of assimilation, the French developed a colonial educational system first in the metropolis and then in the colonies. Even in France some explained that this policy of assimilation was the result of the spirit of the Revolution of 1789. Thus, in her analysis of the institutional framework of Francophonie, notably through what she calls the "Traditional French Linguistic Policies, Their Extension to Her Colonial Empire and Their Legacy Today" Anne Judge notes that it was after the questionnaire developed by Abbé Grégoire in 1790 which shows the existence of many languages and dialects spoken in France that the Revolutionaries, in a spirit of justice and equality, “decided that [languages and dialects of France] should be suppressed in the name of equality of opportunity 5. This began a movement to establish state schools for the teaching of French."(In Laila Ibnlfassi et al, eds. 1996:13) It is therefore not surprising that in 1829 the Governor of Senegal undertook to establish schools where instruction was intended “to wipe out through a common education the difference 5 Mais le rêve révolutionnaire s’est vite transformé en un rêve impérial dont la francophonie va devenir le support principal. C’est du moins ce que nous apprend J-C. Blachère (1993 :25) à travers un discours d’inauguration d’une école coloniale en Afrique noire à la fin du 19eme siècle. Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de l’époque, « Le jour n’est peut-être pas éloigné où depuis le littoral de la Méditerranée jusqu’au golfe de Guinée un voyageur pourra, en tous lieux, entrer en relation avec les principaux habitants des pays parcourus au moyen de la langue française. Ce jour-la, notre œuvre sera devenue indestructible comme le fut celle des Romains dans l’Espagne et la Gaule antiques. Le nordouest africain tout entier sera pour toujours une terre imprégnée des souvenirs et de la civilisation de la France. » Le rêve impérial transparaît ici à travers la comparaison de l’œuvre civilisatrice de la France à celle des Romains, donc de l’empire romain avec le futur empire français.
  21. 21. 22 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara in customs and language” (in Spencer 1974: 163). About a century later, precisely on December 20, 1920, the Governor General of AEF signed an order which states that "No school will be allowed where the instruction is not given in French. The teaching of any other language is forbidden "(In-Tabi Manga 2000: 42). Henri Labouret (1938) is therefore right to say that, generally, the cultural and linguistic policy in France was influenced by its history. And F. Michelman (1995: 219) adds that this history is the legacy of the Roman Empire, particularly its tendency "towards linguistic and cultural centrism." So it is no surprise that Thomas Spear (2002: 11) tells us that of all the languages of colonization, French is the only one “whose old European capital remains the epicenter." And Spear adds that "only the French language has a European-based linguistic headquarter- from which the basic dictionaries are published 6 ...." (My translation) This headquarter is the French Academy founded in 1635 to regulate the use of French in France and around the worldwide. Indeed, it is Richelieu who created that academy, which, according to Harriet Walter (1994: 244), "will have the mission to decode the vocabulary and fix grammar. The first edition of the Dictionnaire de l’Académie prescribed in 1694 a "good usage," [meaning] the one of the court and of high society, as well as orthography respectful of etymology 7.” (My translation) A century later, in 1794, Father Gregory demanded the abolition of all other "dialects" in favor of French. And finally, in 1964 De Gaulle created the Haut Conseil de la Langue Française thus taking, in the words of Rubango (1999: 572), "the Francophonie to the baptismal font." This Haut Conseil later became the Haut Commissariat and then the Delegation a la Langue Française before becoming Francophonie under Francois Mitterrand. « Seul le français a un siège linguistique européen—d’où viennent les dictionnaires de base… ». 7 «aura pour mission de décoder le lexique et de fixer la grammaire. La première édition du Dictionnaire de l’Académie consacre en 1694 un «bel usage», celui de la cour et des gens de qualité, ainsi qu’une orthographe respectueuse de l’étymologie». 6
  22. 22. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 23 Irene d'Almeida (Spear in 2002) is therefore right to believe that the French language policy has its origins in the creation of the French Academy, whose main purpose is to ensure the purity of the French language. For Christian Valentin (2001: 55), Francophonie recalls "the assimilating dream of the Third Republic [which was] to bring together the peoples of the Empire around the same language spoken by all, in the same cultural melting pot8." (My translation) This is probably the same project that inspired the French colonial policy of assimilation and glottophagie in Africa south of Sahara and brought about the challenges facing Francophonie today. The Challenges Facing Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara "In less than ten years, the Africans will speak English, the technology they will use will come from America, their elites will be educated in the United States, as for we [the French], we will remain cut off from our African roots, curled up on a chilly Europe, incapable of being a competitive power 9."(Bernard Debre, a former French Minister of Cooperation," Plaidoyer pour l’Afrique", Le Figaro, 9 février, 1998) "Between the African intellectuals and the negro kinglets [roitelets] Paris had chosen long ago. Calls, pressing sermons, institutions, as rich as they are, will not help: the official Francophonie is bound to be the flag parade of hack mercenaries, 8 «le rêve assimilateur de la IIIème République [qui était] de rassembler les peuples de l’Empire autour d’une même langue parlée par tous, dans un même creuset culturel». 9 « Dans moins de dix ans, les Africains parleront anglais, la technologie qu’ils emploieront sera américaine, leurs élites seront éduquées aux Etats-Unis, nous resterons quant a nous [les Français] coupés de nos racines africaines, recroquevillés sur une Europe frileuse, incapable alors d’être une puissance écoutée.
  23. 23. 24 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara and the laughing stock of independent creators 10. "(Mongo Béti," Seigneur, deliver-nous de la Francophonie, " In Peuples noirs-Peuples africains, nos 59-62, sept-déc.1987/janv.-avr.1988, 106; My translation) The concern of the Minister Debré and the judgment without appeal of Mongo Béti are the consequences of the cultural and linguistic policy of colonial France of which Francophonie is a new manifestation. This is so much so because the weight of regulation of the colonial and now postcolonial school, with its educational reflexes, continues to weigh heavily on the minds and lives of the elite in particular (see also Blachère 1993) and on the socioeconomic and cultural development in general. The challenges, as they will be discussed later, are enormous; and although they cover all the aspects of the lives of Francophone Africans, the language issue remains the greatest concern. Already in 1961, Pierre Alexandre, in an article entitled "Les problèmes linguistiques des Etats négro-africains à l’heure de l’indépendance” [The Linguistic Problems of Negro-African States at the Time of Independence], established a link between these challenges and the language policy of France. He particularly emphasized how the exclusive use of French in colonial and now postcolonial schools, explains without doubt, on the one hand, the 10 « Entre les intellectuels africains et les roitelets nègres, il y a longtemps que Paris a choisi. Les appels, les sermons pressants, les institutions, aussi riches soient-elles, n‘y feront rien : la francophonie officielle est condamnée à être l’étendard de parade de plumitifs mercenaires, et la risée des créateurs indépendants. »
  24. 24. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 25 delay in African studies in France 11 compared to what happened in London or Brussels; and on the other hand, the fact that French, because of its glottophagie, to paraphrase Louis-Jean Calvet, "penetrated much deeper [into the being and identity of the colonized] and was qualitatively better known in French colonies than English in the English colonies. [The language policy of France] may also explain why the "petit Nègre" or "Français tirailleurs" has never grown like the Coastal English or Pidgin 12.”(183, emphasis added, my translation). But the most serious challenge, as Ambroise Kom (2000: 108) noted with bitterness, is that forty years after independence African countries have not yet really begun the "decolonization of the French language and its tools. Because of inadequate facilities, poor management of local staff and, above all, the lack of a rigorous and rational policy of appropriation of the colonial legacy, French, no 11 En effet, Jacqueline Bardolph a relevé avec regret le fait que des théoriciens et intellectuels comme Dérida, Lacan, Foucault, Kristeva et Irigaray, pourtant bien connus sur le plan international, ne lui étaient pas d’un grand secours dans ses recherches sur les littératures du Commonwealth. Et elle avance que cela est du au fait que les débats sur les littératures postcoloniales ont pris forme d’abord en Amérique du Nord et dans les pays anglophones du Commonwealth. Elle ajoute que les littératures postcoloniales ne sont pas encore enseignées dans les universités françaises. Pareille avec le féminisme, ce qui, dit-elle, est pour le moins paradoxal dans le pays de Beauvoir, Cixous, Kristeva et Irigaray (in Rowland Smith, ed. Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Studies in Literature and Culture. Waterloo. Ontario: Wilfried Laurier University Press, 2000:39-47). 12 « pénétrait beaucoup plus en profondeur [de l’être ou de l’identité du colonisé], et était qualitativement mieux connu dans les colonies françaises que l’anglais dans les colonies anglaises. [La politique linguistique de la France] peut aussi expliquer pourquoi le « petit negre » ou « français tirailleurs » n’a jamais pris l’extension du Coast English ou Pidgin »
  25. 25. 26 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara matter what is said, is far from being considered as part of the African heritage. 13" (my translation) In the foreword to his book: Le français en Afrique noire: mythes, strategies, praitiques (1994), Gabriel Manessy rightly notes that the school and the political and administrative structures "have somehow limited negatively the other side of French in Africa, that is to say, the popular French also called "petit negre 14 " (8, emphasis added). As Pierre Alexandre and others had already done, Manessy did not resist the temptation to compare the past with the present to better understand the latter. Thus, he notes that unlike in the countries colonized by Belgium, Germany or Great Britain, in all Frenchspeaking countries that were under French rule, French, today as yesterday, "does assume there only unequally the role of lingua franca among communities speaking different mother tongues. This is obviously a direct legacy of colonization; the remarkable fact is that the legacy has survived the abolition of colonization and it actually seems not to be questioned anywhere 15... “(18; my translation). And Manessy comments that, unlike in the English-speaking countries where a pidgin developed as a lingua franca, there is in Francophone Africa, a "relative unity of French (...) rather more surprising than its « la décolonisation de la langue française et ses outils. Du fait de l’insuffisance des structures, de la mauvaise gestion du personnel local et, par dessus tout, de l’absence d’une politique rigoureuse et rationnelle d’appropriation de l’héritage colonial, le français, quoi qu’on dise, est loin d’être considéré comme faisant partie du patrimoine africain ». 14 « ont en quelque sorte délimité négativement l’autre face du français d’Afrique, c’est-à-dire le français populaire appelé aussi « petit nègre » 13 15 « n’y assume que fort inégalement le rôle de lingua franca entre les communautés de langues maternelles différentes. Il s’agit là, bien évidemment, d’un héritage direct de la colonisation ; le fait remarquable est qu’il ait survécu à l’abolition de celle-ci et qu’il ne paraisse être nulle part effectivement remis en question … »
  26. 26. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 27 diversification 16" (33; my translation; see also Calvet, L’Europe et ses langues (1993). Cote d'Ivoire is an exception with the development of “petit nègre” in the major urban centers (Walter 1994: 153). This explains in part why in Francophone Africa, in the words of Kom, language awareness is the lowest. Some argue that the continent has more pressing concerns than dealing with language issues. Perhaps, but " is it not illusory, wonders Ambroise Kom, to think that Africa can escape the simultaneous search for solutions to her problems while facing the risk of deteriorating situations that could have been remedied otherwise 17? (Kom 2000:108-9; my translation). In any case, adds Kom, "it (...) seems difficult to separate the fate of African languages from the continent's political future 18" (6; my translation). As for Calvet (1993), he binds the continent's economic future to the development of African languages along side French. After that, the issue of the revaluation of African languages conceived and perceived as a condition for a genuine 16 « relative unité du français (…) qui surprend plutôt que sa diversification » 17 « n’est il pas illusoire, se demande Ambroise Kom, de penser qu’on peut ainsi échapper à la recherche simultanée des solutions aux problèmes qui se posent au risque de voir se détériorer des situations auxquelles on aurait pu remédier en s’y prenant à temps ? 18 « il (…) semble difficile de séparer le destin des langues africaines de l’avenir politique du continent »
  27. 27. 28 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara liberation is well documented 19. But their importance as a challenge for Francophonie in Africa South of the Sahara deserves a brief attention and review of the literature about the language debate. Kom and other researchers have in fact shown the importance of seriously taking into account the question of African languages in educational systems for the simple fact that there is no evidence that French has really solved the problem of communication among the language groups present in many Francophone countries. Language of the elite and administration, French is used by the happy few who were privileged to have attended school to a certain level. In addition, despite all the campaigns for literacy, the school benefits only a tiny fraction of the population. Therefore the development of popular French that can strengthen the national unity is limited. In fact, linguists agree that in the best case, not more than 10% of the populations of French-speaking Africa are truly fluent in French, even if the official rates are higher for reasons very well known. As an illustration, Kom took the case of Senegal and Algeria, two countries where the French presence was the longest in Africa. In the case of Senegal, Kom explains, after three hundred years of French colonization, the country has 19 See K. Barber, « African Language Literature and Postcolonial Criticism, » in Research in African Literatures, 24/4 (1995) :3-30 ; E. Ngara et al, eds., Literature, Language, and the Nation, ATOLL/Baobab Books, 1989; R. Fardon et al , eds., African Languages, Development and the State, Routledge, 1994; Research in African Literatures, 23/1 (1992): numéro spécial sur la question des langues africaines dans leurs rapports avec la littérature et le développement; W. Safran et al, eds., Language, Ethnic Identity and the State, Routledge, 2005; Calvet, L’Europe et ses langues, Plon, 1993; La guerre des langues et les politiques linguistiques, Payot, 1987; Tabi-Manga, Les politiques linguistiques au Cameroun, Karthala, 2000; Collectif, Language in Education in Africa, Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, 1986; International Journal of the Sociology of Langauge, vol. 137 (1999); Gérard, European-Language Writing in Sub-saharan Africa, Budapest, 1986; Fishman, ed. Advances in Langauge Planning, Mouton, 1974.
  28. 28. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 29 only about 10% of the population that truly masters the language of Voltaire. It is also the case in Algeria where, after one hundred twenty-six years of colonization, the country had about 15% of boys and 6% of girls who attended school in 1954 (Kom 2000:110-111). Note that among these literate boys and girls, at least in the case of Niger, many can barely write and sign their names! The case of Niger is also good to think about by those who want to sell Francophonie, claiming the role of the French language as a tool of interethnic communication and the role it played in the national unity. For if it is admitted that only 10% of the population uses French, we must also add that there are ten ethnic groups in the country. Assuming that the ten groups had equal access to school, which is not certain, how many elites of each group are fluent in French? Logically no more than 1%! This is to say that in reality only 1% of the population of each group can communicate effectively in French with all the other nine ethnic groups. In light of the above facts, the opportunities for national unity by the French language are rather slim 20. In the same vein, William Safran argues that "a common language does not guarantee national unity" (in Landau, ed. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, vol.137 (1999:61). Indeed, the case of Somalia illustrates the argument defended by Safran because this country is, according to Gerard (1990: 73), "the only sub-Saharan country with full ethnic homogeneity"; except, to some extent, Burundi and Lesotho. And yet Somalia seems now more than ever torn by internal conflicts. This means that other 20 Dans l’avant-propos de sa pièce théâtrale Tanimoune, l’historien Nigérien André Salifou écrit: « Je n’ai absolument rien contre la «francophonie », ni même contre la « francité », mais personne n’est dupe : quand on dit d’un pays comme le Niger, par exemple, qu’il est francophone, tout le monde sait qu’il ne s’agit la que d’une certaine façon de parler de ce qui n’est pas. Les Nigériens capables de lire un ouvrage- ou même le moindre texte- écrit en français, ne représentent encore qu’une poignée de privilégiés. » (cite par Bokiba dans Ecriture et Identité dans la Littérature Africaine. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1998 :29-30)
  29. 29. 30 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara reasons have to be looked for outside multilingualism (see also Bamgbose 1994). What then? The future of Francophonie in Africa South of the Sahara Ambroise Kom and others have proposed a change in the educational systems, a change whose primary purpose will be "the domestication of the French language" which necessarily entails a certain valorization and development of African languages. Especially because linguists and educators are unanimous that the teaching of mother tongues in primary school education plays a significant role in the transmission of theoretical and professional knowledge and above all in the learning of a second or foreign language like French in Africa. That is one of the conclusions that Tabi-Manga (2000) and many others have learned from the British experience. Moreover, that experience has been confirmed by all the experimental schools of Francophone countries which nevertheless continue to exclude the local languages from teaching in the other schools. So teaching the African languages alongside French in our schools must be the condition of our presence in a new Francophonie that is fair, balanced, supportive and respectful of our identity. It is also one of the major challenges facing Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara. Conclusion "It is Hamani Diori, former president of the Republic of Niger, who is cited as the architect of the institutional Francophonie for having been credited with the initiative of ACCT and it is indeed Leopold Sédar Senghor, poet, Academician and former president of Senegal who is recognized as the greatest theorist and ideologue in
  30. 30. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 31 chief of the Francophonie movement. 21” (Kom 2000:111; my translation) So born in Niamey on the banks of the River Niger and weaned in Dakar on the banks the River Senegal before joining its ancestors on the banks of the Seine in France, it is still in Africa that Francophonie is facing its greatest challenges. Growing pains or crises of identity, Francophonie is facing challenges and paradoxes that are threatening to destroy it in the absence of necessary reforms. For Jean-Pierre van Deth, the Francophone countries "have contributed in their way, and for various reasons, to the current supremacy of English 22" (in Calvet 1993: 133; my translation). Indeed, in Africa south of Sahara, the decline of the French language is mainly due to the linguistic and cultural policy that France conducted during colonization and continues to practice after independence with the complicity of African leaders. Already in 1985 Mohamadou Kane lamented the fact that some French cultural assistants and African nationals "with the support of the local political power, can deprive the education specialist of the country of any pedagogical initiative 23" (in Beniamino 1999: 182; my translation). Fifteen years later, Ambroise Kom (2000: 52) notes with regret that Notre Librairie "is a creation of the French Ministry of Cooperation and Foreign Affairs and the Commissariat Général de la Langue Française. Its objective is to popularize African literary production in the continent and in the other French-speaking nations of the world. The offices of Notre Librairie are located in the 21 « C’est bien Hamani Diori ancien président de la République du Niger qui est cité comme l’artisan de la francophonie institutionnelle du fait que l’initiative de l’ACCT lui revient et c’est bel et bien Léopold Sedar Senghor, poète, académicien et ancien président de la République du Sénégal qui est reconnu comme le plus grand théoricien et l’idiologue en chef du mouvement de la francophonie. » 22 « ont contribué à leur manière, et pour diverses raisons, à la suprématie actuelle de l’anglais » 23 « acquis au pouvoir politique, peuvent priver les spécialistes du pays de toute initiative pédagogique »
  31. 31. 32 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Ministry of Cooperation and its editors are all staff of that Ministry. Although Notre Librairie requests numerous [external] scientific collaborations, the journal is primarily an instrument of propaganda; extremely attentive to the image that African states want to give of themselves and of their culture 24." (my translation) Given the poverty of African countries and the low level of the linguistic consciousness that characterize them and the financial and political means available to the Francophonie, we can say without any risk of error that the image of Africa, and especially of their respective countries that these leaders will give is largely created by and for the needs of the Francophonie. (See also Serge Bourjea in Beniamino 1999: 189-190). But if in spite of all of the above facts, one can still conclude that Francophonie is a failure then it becomes necessary to draw the appropriate lessons. The fundamental lesson comes from the experience of the British or Anglophonie: namely the need to change the education systems in Francophone Africa south of Sahara. The aim is to introduce the teaching of local languages as a necessary complement to the French language. Without this complementarity, warns Calvet (1993: 167), "there will be no future for the French language” (my translation), especially since the introduction of African languages in primary education in the former British colonies has not stopped English from flourishing. Instead the language of Shakespeare is thriving so well that it has become a point of concern for the Minister Debré (Kom 2000). 24 « est une création du Ministère français de la Coopération et des Affaires Etrangères et du Commissariat Général de la Langue française. Elle se donne comme objectif de faire connaitre la production littéraire africaine sur le continent et dans les autres Etats francophones du monde. Les bureaux de Notre Librairie se situent au sein même du Ministère de la Coopération et ses éditeurs sont tous fonctionnaires dudit ministère. Bien qu’elle sollicite de nombreuses collaborations à caractère scientifique, la revue est avant tout un instrument de vulgarisation ; extrêmement attentif à l’image que les Etats africains veulent donner d’eux-mêmes et de leur culture »
  32. 32. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 33 Moreover, local cultures are much more developed in the English speaking countries than in Francophone countries. For Abdou Moumouni, the possibility of a flowering of African cultures on the side of English was finally the mark of the difference between the British colonization, with its education system tolerating the teaching of local languages, and that of France which dreamed of a universal language, French. Moumouni explains that this difference is "not in any philanthropic tendency of English colonization compared with the French, but in the objectively greater possibilities of cultural development which flow from even the partial use of African languages in schools "(in Michelman 1995:220; emphasis added). In addition, the teaching of African languages will enable students to have a better perception of their languages and identities, without forgetting that it will allow an increase in enrollment rates. It is probably no coincidence, says Gabriel Manessy (1994: 26), if Togo and Benin, two countries where the schools of the German missions kept the traditions of teaching in local languages, quickly became, according to a famous formula, the "Latin Quarter" of francophone west Africa while Senegal, even after three hundred years of French colonization, is not very far from Niger, often showcased as the worst example in Africa in terms of schooling. After the reform of schools, universities in francophone Africa south of the Sahara as well as in the metropolis must in their turn be reformed to become more interested in African Francophone literature. Because they have been created in the image of French universities, Kom (2000) reminds us, Francophone African universities do not give enough importance to their own cultures through the teaching of national literatures in French as well as in local national languages. For example, none of these universities, with the exception of the University of Yaoundé (although the case of Cameroon is unique because of its bilingual situation: French and English), has within it a department of African languages and / or national literatures. By contrast, in Nigeria, for example, some universities have curricula in Master (MA) and doctorate (PhD) degrees in the three languages of wider communication: Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo. And for many years it has been possible to have a
  33. 33. 34 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Master or a PhD entirely written and defended in these languages. Akinwumi Isola informs us that at the University of Ife, for example, the first PhD entirely written in Yoruba was defended on March 7, 1991 (in Research in African Literatures 23 / 1 (1992: 21). By contrast, adds Kom, in Dakar, Abidjan, and Ouagadougou as well as in Brazzaville and Niamey, some go out of their ways to ensure that the place given to national and African literatures does not exceed the tolerable threshold for those who will judge the equivalence or integration across the different administrations. The reference is still to the French curriculum. And Ambroise Kom (2000: 168) concludes that "There is no irony to say that the example should still come from France. [For] ... the reality is that African universities, although they are autonomous, have a cultural contract to honor: that of not taking the risk of straying too far away from the old model of the metropolis. It is therefore important that the example comes from elsewhere and that French universities themselves set the tone [see also Alexandre 1961] and serve as models for their African counterparts. Because if the French university had granted the Francophone literatures of Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere a special place in their programs, Africa would not have hesitated as to develop the teaching of its own literatures and that of other francophone countries around the world 25." 25 « Il n’y a pas d’ironie à le dire : l’exemple doit encore venir de France. [Car]… tout tient au fait que les universités africaines, bien qu’autonomes, ont un contrat culturel à honorer : celui de ne point prendre le risque de trop s’éloigner du modèle de l’ancienne métropole. Il importe donc que l’exemple vienne d’ailleurs et que les universités françaises elles-mêmes donnent le ton [voir aussi Alexandre 1961] et servent de modèles à leurs homologues africaines. Car si l’université française avait accordé aux littératures francophones d’Afrique, des Antilles et d’ailleurs une place spécifique dans ses programmes, l’Afrique n’aurait pas tant hésité à développer l’enseignement de sa propre littérature et de celle des autres contrées francophones du globe ».
  34. 34. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 35 (my translation) It is also our conviction. Moreover, the future of the Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara will largely depend on these reforms. References: Alexandre, Pierre. « Problèmes linguistiques des états négroafricains à l’heure de l’indépendance.» Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 2/6 (1961):177-195. Bamgbose, Ayo, « Pride and Prejudice in Multilingualism and Development. » Richard Fordon et al; eds. African Languages, Development and the State. London : Routledge, 1994 :33-43. Baniamino, Michel. La francophonie littéraire: essai pour une théorie. Paris/Montréal : L’Harmattan, 1999. Blachère, Jean-Claude. Négritures. Les écrivains d’Afrique noire et la langue française. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1993. Béti, Mongo. « L’écrivain francophone, le public, la société. » Littératures africaines : dans quelle(s) langue(s) ? Yaoundé : Silex/Nouvelles du Sud, 1997 :237-242. Brench, A.C. The Novelists’ Inheritance in French Africa: Writers from Senegal to Cameroon. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967. Calvet, Jean-Louis. L’Europe et ses langues. Paris: Plon, 1993. Crowder, Michael. Senegal: A Study in French Assimilation Policy. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. Gerard, Albert. Contexts of African Literature. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1990. Ibnlfassi, Laila and Nicki Hitchcott, eds. African Francophone Writing: A Critical Introduction. Oxford: BERG, 1996. Joubert, Jean-Louis et al. Les littératures francophones depuis 1945. Paris : Bordas : 986. Kom, Ambroise. La malédiction africaine : défis culturels et condition postcoloniale en Afrique. Yaoundé : Lit/Clé, 2000.
  35. 35. 36 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Labouret, Henri. « L’éducation des indigènes : méthodes britanniques et françaises.» L’Afrique Française 38 (1928) : 404-411. Léon, Antoine. Colonisation, enseignement et éducation : étude historique et comparative. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1991. Manessy, Gabriel. Le français en Afrique noire : mythes, stratégies, pratiques. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1994. Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996. Meyer, Birgit et al. eds. Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure. Oxford: Institute of Social Studies/Blackwell Publishers, 1999. Michelman, Fredric. « French and British Colonial Language Policies: A Comparative View of Their Impact on African Literature. » Research in African Literatures 26/4 (Winter 1995): 216-225. Moura, Jean-Marc. La littérature des lointains : histoire de l’exotisme européen au XXe siècle. Paris : Honore Champion, 1998. Spear, Thomas C. « Introduction. » La culture française vue d’ici et d’ailleurs, 2002 :9-37. Spencer, John. « Colonial Language Policies and their Legacies in Sub-Saharan Africa. » Joshua A. Fishman, ed. Advances in Language Planning. The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1974: 163-175. Valentin, Christian. « La francophonie et la langue française. » Revue des Deux Mondes, (nov.-déc. 2001) :52-59. Walter, Harriette. L’aventure des langues en occident : leur origine, leur histoire, leur géographie. Paris : Ed. Robert Laffont, 1994. Ya Rubango, Nyunda. « Le Congo et l’Afrique face aux enjeux et aux paradoxes de la francophonie.» Revue Canadienne des Etudes Africaines, vol.33, Nos 2/3 : 571-583.
  36. 36. Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Transtextuality in South African Fiction: The Novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink Khadidiatou DIALLO* Abstract This article seeks to analyze the transtextual network that binds the novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink in order to explain and demonstrate that the similarities and particularities noted in the thematic and aesthetic representation they made of racial discrimination is, actually, a multi-layered denunciation of such an evil. In this way, it explores the paratextual design and the intertextual parallelism that frame the message of commitment and transethnicity of both authors. Keys words: Transtextuality, paratextuality, intertextuality. Résumé Cet article est une analyse des relations transtextuelles que partagent les romans d’Alex La Guma et d’André Brink dans le but d’expliquer et d’affirmer que les similitudes et spécificités dans le traitement thématique et esthétique qu’ils font de la discrimination raciale en Afrique du sud est, en réalité, une critique caustique et multidimensionnelle de cette tragédie historique. Ainsi, cette étude examine le paratexte et les réseaux intertextuels par lesquels les deux auteurs encodent leur message d’engagement et leurs idéaux transethniques. Mots clés : Transtextualité, paratextualité, intertextualité. * Enseignante Chercheur, Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, Sénégal.
  37. 37. 38 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction Introduction One thing that catches attention after reading works by South Africa’s literati is the recurrent treatment of the issue of apartheid. A wide range of literary works expose the same concern about the contradictions and abuses that were the order of the day under the Nationalist regime. Like many other figures, La Guma and Brink made caustic representations of the realities of the political regime that was running the country. By portraying the multifarious effects of such a system on the lives of individuals and groups, they are conscious that writers can be sometimes rebels who fight for “…human values – against everything which threatens the human – against everything which is essentially inhuman” 1, like promoting a culture that separates people on a race basis. Although “historically and legally separated” as coloured and white, La Guma and Brink share the conviction that South Africa must be freed from the arbitrariness of political power, a conviction framed in their productions through different perspectives. Following the principle upheld by Mikhail Bakhtin and Julia Kristeva that texts cannot be separated from the larger cultural or social textuality out of which they are constructed, it is no wonder that the writings of La Guma and Brink be sunk into the realities of South Africa under apartheid and present, to a certain degree, the same thematic and aesthetic reference. Thus, it will be enthralling a task to probe into the narrative shape and assess some techniques that sustain the representation of apartheid in order to show that it is a multifaceted denunciation of the lot of those who have borne the brunt of oppression. 1 André Brink, “Writers and Writing in the World”, Writing in a State of Siege: Essays on Politics and Literature, New York: Summit Books, 1983, p. 51.
  38. 38. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 39 In this essay - concentrating on a work by each writer (In the Fog of the Seasons’ End 2 and A Dry White Season 3) and leaning on Genette’s theory of transtextuality - I seek to demonstrate that the parallel depiction of racial discrimination in La Guma’s and Brink’s works is, actually, a multivoiced indictment of the same arbitrary ideology. By spotlighting the paratextual and intertextual similarities and differences in the representation of South Africa, I hope to show that this transtextual depiction of the same issue suggests the meanings and impact of the two authors’ commitment to debunk the system. 1. Paratextual Framing In Palimpsestes 4, Gérard Genette defines transtextuality as a network of implicit or explicit relations that binds one text to another. Transtextuality is composed of five branches: intertextuality, paratextuality, metatextuality, architextuality and hypertextuality, all of them defining the different levels of textual dialogism. These models of literary cooperation are found in the novels of André Brink and Alex La Guma, although paratextuality and intertextuality are among the approaches that help the most both authors in their endeavour to map out the hideous face of apartheid. Paratextuality refers to all the elements that are at the outskirt of a piece of literary work, the textual drawings that accompany the work and which bear some “suggested” link with the story. “More than a boundary or a selected border, the paratext is, rather, a Alex La Guma, In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, London: Heinemann, 1972. All references to this novel are taken from this edition. In the text the title is abbreviated as The Fog. 3 André Brink, A Dry White Season, New York: Penguin Books, 1984. All references to this novel are taken from this edition. In the text the title is abbreviated as A Dry. 2 4 Gérard Genette, Palimpsestes : la littérature au second degré, Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1982.
  39. 39. 40 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction threshold. It is a “zone between text and off-text, a zone not only of transition but also of transaction […]” 5 In The Fog and A Dry, the paratext takes the form of a quotation, a text commonly known as “epigraph” which “determine[s] and shape[s] readers’ expectations as they enter the text” 6 and encloses clues that can lead to a full understanding of the story. In the first novel, the reader finds an “allographic epigraph” 7 borrowed from the poem of Guinean Conte Saidon Tidiany, Martyrs. It reads like this: Banquets of Black entrails of the Black, Armour of Parchment of wax, Fragile and Fugitive when facing the burning stone, Will be shattered like the spider web, In the Fog of the Seasons’ End. (The Fog, i) By its strategic place, this citation from Martyrs should, normally, arouse the curiosity of the “competent” 8 reader. The gist of the story in The Fog is a sensitization about the imperative of armed struggle in the colonial context of apartheid. As such, the meaning of the narrative is in line with the connotations of the epigraph. Indeed, in the poem, Tidiany alludes to the sufferings and shackles of bondage that have, for a long time, enslaved and killed blacks – “Banquets of black entrails of the Black” - , an oppression exerted by the ferocious and brutal white Oppressor – “Armour or parchment of wax”. But such a violent power from whites makes blacks become vulnerable – “Fragile and fugitive when facing the burning stone” - , which, however, progressively crumbles face to the dauntless black martyrs – “like the spider web”- ; this signals Gérard Genette, Paratexts: Threshold of Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 6 Simon Gikandi, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 98. 5 7 8 Ibid, p. 151. [“The epigraph is most often allographic, that is […] attributed to an author who is not the author of the text.” To refer to Russian Formalists.
  40. 40. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 41 the end of a long season of affliction- “In the fog of the seasons’ end”. The significance of the fogged existence of the oppressed groups, hinted in the poem, is further disclosed by Fritz Pointer: In The Fog of the Seasons’ End suggests that, even as African people struggle for true independence and their humanity, in these final days of colour and racism, the end may appear cloudy and often obscure. Still at the end of the seasons, in the words of Dr Martin Luther King, ‘we, as a people will get to the promised land’. This is a very functional and optimistic image, one that plays a wonderful role in the thematic development of this novel.6 In this way, the meaning of the intertext is very accurate in the light of La Guma’s desire to sensitize people against the violence of racism and discrimination. The epigraph-text bears a semantic link with the themes discussed in The Fog because not only does it reinforce the message encoded in the events but it allows a better understanding of the attitudes and reactions of characters like Beukes or Elias. Finally, the extract from Conte’s poem adds to the symbolism of La Guma’s novel: The Fog deals with the determination of daring figures who strongly believe that behind the cloudy sky of South Africa lies a gleam of hope for a better future. In the same vein, the image of the “season” is used as a metaphor in the allographic epigraph that welcomes the reader in A Dry. Sharing the same motive with La Guma, Brink resolutely uses other literary elements from pre-existent works so as to remould the collective consciousness of his community, warped by arbitrary beliefs, but also to better voice his fierce determination to rehabilitate the social and political condition of his country. A Dry unfolds a poignant and realistic account of the backlashes of repressive policies on Apartheid-run South Africa. “Depicted as a massive totalitarian state with an elaborate apparatus of paid or terrorized informers and a highly organized system of torture and intimidation […] South Africa is revealed to Ben du Toit as a self-
  41. 41. 42 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction perpetuating terror machine.” 9 In this respect, in A Dry, Brink calls to Mongane Wally Serote, a black Soweto poet, to set the tone of the story through the epigraph. It has this form: It is a dry white season dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out and with a broken heart they dive down gently headed for the earth not even bleeding it is a dry white season brother, only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect dry like steel, their branches dry like wire, indeed, it is a dry white season but seasons come to pass (A Dry) Like Brink and La Guma, Serote was among the most committed and undaunted artists who was spurred by a dream of equality and justice. The epigraph is woven around the metaphor of the “dry white season”, that hints at the harshness of the “seasons of apartheid”. These lines at the threshold of the novel already connote the inhuman situation generated by the racist regime in South Africa, where Non Whites like Gordon Ngubene or Jonathan do not live long because of the repressive apparatus of the government - “dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out. Still, these terror policies meet the resistance of valiant black fighters who, though vulnerable, stand up firmly - “only trees know the pain as they still stand erect, dry like steel”: indeed, however dry and harsh as white racism may be, “seasons come to pass”. Therefore, the epigraph suggests the “age of iron” 10 upon Fritz Pointer, A Passion to Liberate. La Guma’s South African Images of District Six, Trenton: Africa World Press, 2001, p. 123. 7 André Brink, (http://www.galenet.com/servlet/litRCVrsn:300p:containslocID:wi sc_madison&srch), accessed 4/20/2004. 6 10 To refer to John-Maxwell Coetzee in Age of Iron, New York: Penguin, 1990.
  42. 42. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 43 blacks but also whites (like Ben du Toit) who are pegged as dissident. Thus, not only do the epigraphs in La Guma’s and Brink’s novels constitute another evocative way to represent life under apartheid, but they are “a text” that can help the reader better grasp the temerity of black resistants and the experiences of characters. Apart from justifying the choice of titles in both novels, they are a symbolic expression of the ideals of both prose-writers. The symbolic connotation of the paratext is much more articulated through the use of dedications in The Fog and A Dry. Analyzing this element of intertextuality urges to probe the meanings of the text through which an author dedicates to or names his work after someone or a group of people. Gérard Genette has this definition of the technique: “[…] the dedication, […] is the proclamation (sincere or not) of a relationship (of one kind or another) between the author and some person, group, or entity.” 11 In A Dry, the reader meets an “anonymous” dedication, as it relates to a person unknown to him. It reads like this: “For Alta who sustained me in the dry white season”. Certainly, the dedicatee is close to the author because, through the comment “who sustained me in the dry white season”, the reader can infer that there is a relation of compassion 12 that tied the latter to the dedicatee, Alta. Indeed, like the main figure in his novel, Brink underwent the wrath of the police of apartheid. He avers in an interview: I’ve been under constant surveillance: all my mail is opened, and my phone is tapped […] But I have been called in for interrogation, I’ve had my house searched, I’ve had notes and things seized. 11 12 Gérard Genette, Paratexts: Threshold of Interpretation, op.cit, p. 135. .Although the dedication, in this case, is “elusive and indefinite about the relationship, depending on the reader (and perhaps the dedicatee himself) to pin it down.” (Genette, Paratexts).
  43. 43. 44 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction So they certainly keep one aware of their presence. 13 In this way, the small text that meets the reader in the hall of the novel and which seems to have merely a decorative function, is, actually, knotted semantically to the events unfolded by the story. This connotative weight of the dedication is more accented in La Guma’s The Fog. Here, the dedication “To the Memory of Bazil February and others killed in action, Zimbabwe 1967”, is more than a text posted and suggesting some vague relation with the author: it works as a resounding way to expose, at the outset, the violent and grotesque nature of a system which urges resistants like Isaacs or Robert in A Dry or even Baby and Alia in Nadine Gordimer’s My Son’s Story, to go abroad and train for military action. In this way, the dedication foretells the relentless protesting actions of rebels in both novels. And the reader can progressively step into the narrative and construct its full meaning through the “lens of the paratext” and discover that the sacrifice of February recalls that of Elias in The Fog and Ben Du Toit in A Dry. Therefore, resorting to such paratextual design in The Fog and A Dry bears its relevance in the exposition of life under apartheid. It heightens the aesthetic weight of the stories and functions as a comment on the thematic line of both novels. By the relationship of solidarity and compassion it conveys, the dedication gives the reader another opportunity to appreciate, once more, the commitment of Brink and La Guma to debunk the system. As much as with the dedication, the prologue (or foreword) and the epilogue are other accurate paratextual devices that hold clues of the backlashes of racial discrimination in South Africa. These elements of transtextuality are generally favoured by writers who, at some point, feel the necessity to provide some reasons that have triggered the act of writing. Brink and La Guma also use these narrative techniques in their respective works in the view to enhancing the relevance and urgency to use their pen to indict the apparatus of coercion in their country. 13 André Brink in an interview with Jim Davidson, Overland, 94-5 (1984): 24-30.
  44. 44. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 45 The Fog is La Guma’s only novel that opens with a prologue. It is an important and symbolical part of the story because it announces the tensed and violent events that will be unfolded in the reading process. Indeed, by exposing what can be regarded as an ideological confrontation between the Mayor (an epitome of apartheid) and the unnamed prisoner (whom the reader discovers later as Elias and symbol of the resistance wing), the prologue betokens a pathetic and thrilling story of domination and rebellion. The following exchange is an expression of the stark opposition between oppressor and oppressed: ‘I do not understand the ingratitude of your people’ [...]. ‘Look what we, our Government, have done for your people. We have given you nice jobs, houses, education. [...] We have allowed your people to get education, your own special schools, but you are not satisfied. No, you want more than what you get. (The Fog, 4) This plea of the Mayor is rebuffed by the prisoner through this averment: You want me to cooperate. You have shot my people when they have protested against unjust treatment; you have torn people from their homes, imprisoned them, not for stealing or murder, but for not having your permission to live. Our children live in rags and die of hunger. And you want me to co-operate with you? It is impossible. […] You are going torture me, may be kill me. But that is the only way you and your people can rule us. You shoot and kill and torture because you cannot rule in any other way a people who reject you. (The Fog, 5) As it can be noted, “the prologue functions to state the two ideologically divergent positions.” 14 This technique is all the more 14 Nahem Yousaf, Alex La Guma, Politics and Resistance, Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2001, p. 93.
  45. 45. 46 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction significant as the plot of The Fog is “illuminated by the theoretical justification of violence as inevitable and even desirable.” 15 In A Dry, Ben’s father-in-law too repeats, here, the same hackneyed view of whites’s ‘generosity’ towards the Non-White groups in South Africa: “Don’t you realise what the government is doing for blacks? One of these days the whole bloody lot of them will be free and independent in their own countries. And then you have the nerve to talk about injustice!” […] You give it another good think, Ben […] We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of before the eyes of the world, my boy.” (A Dry, 212) Likewise, the story in this novel opens with a foreword, a preface in which the object of the book is disseminated; it is where the reader learns that the story of Ben du Toit and his investigation on the murder of Gordon and Jonathan Ngubene by the police is related by a “he” narrative voice who is an old friend of Ben. A journalist, the anonymous narrator explains in the foreword, that he is, somewhat bound to collect and weave together the scattered threads of Ben’s story into a coherent narrative, the ultimate aim of which is to question “the well-established ethical and social values of the Afrikaners community he belongs to.” 16 The prologue reveals that Ben du Toit wanted to thwart the intention of Stolz and the other police sleuths “to wipe every sign of [him], as if [he’d] never been here.” (A Dry, 13) In fact, “throughout the apartheid years whole territories of silence were created by the nature of power structures that order the country and defined the limits of its articulated experience. Some of these silences were deliberately imposed, Balasubramanyan Chandramohan, A Study in Trans-ethnicity in Modern South Africa: The Writings of Alex La Guma, 1925-1985, Lewiston: Mellen Research University Press, 1992, p. 24. 16 Baydallaye Kane, “The Fragmented Story of a Dual Journey: Reading The Present through the Past in Andre Brink’s An Instant in the Wind”, Langues et Litteratures GELL, Saint Louis: Presses Universitaires de Saint Louis, janvier 2009, n°13. 15
  46. 46. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 47 whether by decree or by the operation of censorship and the security police.” 17 Faced with all the intimidating and terror-based policies of the regime, the “he” narrator has no choice but to become the voice of his friend Ben, already silenced forever by the security police; his death is summarily announced in a local newspaper and posted right on the first page of the foreword: “Johannesburg teacher killed in accident, knocked down by hit-and-run driver. Mr Ben du Toit (53) at about 11 o’clock last night, on his way to post a letter, etc. Survived by his wife, Susan, two daughters and a young son” (A Dry, 9) In this wise, what drives the most the narrator to arrange Ben’s notes into a story is drafted in the epilogue, another crucial paratextual element that accents the meaning already suggested in the prologue: “to report what I know. So that it will not be possible for any man ever to say again: I knew nothing about it” (A Dry, 316). His account works as a reveille that is meant to wake the awareness of the Afrikaner community. Everything considered, these textual threads - titles, chapter titles, prefaces, caption, notes, dedications, epigraphs, etc. - that Genette takes as “peritext” are the narrative techniques that tie the strands of the two authors’ narratives together, and they have a major effect on the interpretation of the commitment of La Guma “to restore reason to an errant humanity” 18 and that of Brink to question the wellestablished ideology of racism and change the mindset of the white community in South Africa. This engagement of both writers to make their narrative a source of hope for better forms of life, is strongly felt through the parallel and sometimes different images they draw of the smutty world of the ghetto but also of the gamut of aweinspiring policies meant to ensure the hegemony of the regime. 17 André Brink, “Reinventing a Continent (Revisiting History in the Literature of the New South Africa: A Personal Testimony)”, World Literature Today, (www.jstor.org/stable/40151846). 18 Samuel Omo Asein, “The Revolutionary Vision in Alex La Guma’s Novels”, Phylon, (http://www.jstor.org/stable/274434), Accessed: 18/10/2008.
  47. 47. 48 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction 2. Snippets of Intertextuality. Roland Barthes asserts that “all in a text has already been written” 19, to suggest that there is a kind of tacit or unsaid relationships between former and recent texts or texts of the same generation. Barthes further posits that texts (as signs) do not “originate from [their authors’] own unique consciousness but from their place within linguistic cultural systems.” 20 In other words, the literary productions of writers like André Brink and Alex La Guma are cast in some socio-political background, “a larger cultural and social textuality [that of apartheid] out of which they are constructed.” 21 In this way, A Dry and The Fog echo the South African society’s “dialogic conflict over the meanings of words.” 22 The two novels bear intertextual interconnectedness and their “language inevitably contains common [and divergent] points of reference” 23 in the multifaceted representation they make of the “invisible ubiquitous power” of apartheid (A Dry, 237), of the humdrum and violent world of the ghetto, and, above all, of police brutality over non-white communities. A major theme in Brink’s and La Guma’s writing is the description of the dramatic and corrosive transformation of their country by the implementation of racist policies, the many-sided impacts of which are exposed under different narrative perspectives. In A Dry, by progressively unwrapping the insidious activities of the clique in power, Ben du Toit, notwithstanding the opposition of his family and class, and regardless of the police’s mischievous actions, discovers the conditions of the assassination of Gordon and 19 Roland Barthes, quoted by Graham Allen, Intertextuality, London: Routledge, 2000. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid., p. 36. 22 Mikhaïl Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, Austin: Texas University press, 1981, p. 36. 23 Ross Murfin & Supryia M. Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, Boston: Bedford Books, 1998, p. 176.
  48. 48. Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 49 Jonathan. In the same vein, he meets the real face of the political system which runs his country, the brutality of its agents motivated and sustained by the unjust and biased views they had hitherto of the ‘other’. In the following lines, Ben muses over the implications of this dialectics of “the self” and “the other” in the colonial context: “My people”. And then there the “others”. The Jewish shopkeeper; the English chemist; […] And the Blacks. The boys who tended the sheep with me, and yet were different. We lived in a house, they in mud huts with rocks on the roof. […] But it remains a matter of “us” and “them”. […] But suddenly it is no longer adequate, it no longer works. [...] I stood on my knees beside the coffin of a friend. I spoke to a woman morning in a kitchen. […] And that mourning had been caused by “my people.” […] What had happened before that drought has never been particularly vivid or significant to me: that was where I first discover myself and the world. And it seems to me I’m finding myself on the edge of yet another dry white season, perhaps worse that the one I knew as a child. What now? (A Dry, 163) This journey of the protagonist into “the other” and back to “the self” (which will be illustrated later) allows him to reconsider his own “self”. In this quotation, we have an “I” narration mode, through which Ben exposes the realities of cultural/racial differences. Let us specify that the narrative design of A Dry is made up of a patching of official documents (statement of the witnesses at the inquest into Gordon’s death), the account of events and of Ben’s personal notes, which obscures the presence of the author. This frequent shift in the narrative voice is an effective way to expose the turmoil of Brink’s protagonist caused by police harassment. In the extract from the story, the “he” narrator lets the floor to Ben who engages in a deriding judgement of his community’s action towards blacks and the country, in the framework of apartheid. From the outset, the protagonist accents the strife that set racial groups apart: “My people” and “the “other.” The denigration and the
  49. 49. 50 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction rejection of blacks (the “other”) is further implied in the short nominal sentence, “And the Blacks.” The sharp and striking aspect of this sentence serves as a strong way to suggest the racial strife that exists between whites and other groups and the dramatic plight of the latter that are at the receiving end of racism. In this way, along with Ben, the reader can feel, through the lexical and structural shape of the passage, that blacks are the most oppressed and trodden down part of the community, an exploitation that is not only based on race but is “actually shaped by perceptions of religious, linguistic, national, sexual and class differences.” 24 Blacks or “the boys” have been tightly bound by a racist system which demands that they always be the lackeys of whites. Such a situation fortifies and reveals the true nature of the apartheid power structure. The death of “his friend” stirs the awareness of the character who realizes that his “own people” are the root cause of a “dry white season” which is daily smothering the “other”. In fact, the technique of mise en abyme 25 is highly relevant in the passage because it further highlights the seriousness of the plight of South Africans but also it shows that the country itself was weighing down under such a corrosive and foggy atmosphere. Likewise, Alex La Guma is highly preoccupied by unveiling the perilous policies set up by the political machine. In a descriptive style, his narrators, in all his novels, have a religious patience in detailing the social trauma bred by racial discrimination. Like And A Threefold Cord, or even The Stone Country, The Fog combines irony and satire to debunk apartheid. In the following passage, we have a narrative voice, somewhat close to the author, who doesn’t hesitate to deride the sham domination of whites over blacks. It reads: When African people turn sixteen they are born again or, even worse, they are accepted into the Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism, New York: Routledge, 1998, p. 122 25 It is a narrative technique that designates the embedding of a text into another. In the quotation, the device consists in repeating the title of the novel into a part of the story, which is another way of highlighting the horrendous policies of apartheid. 24

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