Over centuries of contact with the West, Africa has suffered the deprivations pf slavery, colonization, and globalization. An integral part of this tragic encounter has been Europhonism: the replacement of native names and language systmes with European ones.
Language is a communal memory bank. In losing its native langauges, Africa would lose its social memory -- its very identity. Acclaimed novelist and critic Ngugi wa Thiong' o traces the arc of Africa's fragmentation and restoration admist the global history of colonialism and modernity. Seeking a revitalization of Africa, Ngugi argues that a reinasance of African languages is a necessary step in the restoration of African wholeness.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, currently distinguished professor of English and comparative literature and director of the international center for writing and translation at the University of California, Irvine.