The Immorality of the Promotion of Non-Indigenous Languages in Africa


  • Jim Harries


Difficulties in translation between Western and non-Western languages are identified in this article as contributing to corruption, incompetence and hence growing poverty and dependency on the West in much of Africa. The problem with Western languages arises because African people are expected, for the sake of international credibility, to use them in the same way as they are used in the West. This forces the African populace, including their scholars, to function formally in respect to an absent and unfamiliar ‘culture’ while disregarding their own history and traditions. Political and economic pressures that ‘force’ African people to operate formally using Western languages are here decried as immoral; leading to the proposal that mission from the West should take the lead in encouraging policies based on the use of indigenous tongues.