Simon Lewis


Post-apartheid South Africa is emerging politically and economically as a kind of go-between — a relatively poor link to the richer nations of the West (or North, or First World — however one formulates them), and a relatively rich link to the poorer nations of Africa. As such, there are at least two major forces operating on it: forces pushing it to integrate as a player in a global capitalist order, and forces driving it to lead a specifically African Renaissance. These forces are not new, exactly; rather, they are exemplary of the problems of all newly independent African nations caught between the rock of global power and the hard place of national autonomy. In almost all cases, the economic and political forces are reflected culturally by forces affecting languages, forces that, on the one hand, draw African nations and individual Africans to adopt ‘international’ languages as their official language, and forces that, on the other hand, draw African nations and individual Africans to promote and preserve indigenous languages. In the latter category, no one has more eloquently and passionately set out a case for using indigenous languages as the tool for cultural assertion and ultimate liberation than the Gikuyu Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o.1



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.