ELS Talk: Language and (Post)Colonial Policy in Africa

26/09/2023 WIB

On September 22, 2023, the Graduate Program of English Language Studies held an event, ELS Talk, which explored the intricate relationship between language and (post) colonial policy in Africa. The event, held as a hybrid event, welcomed participants from both physical and virtual platforms, with students from diverse backgrounds joining the discussion.

The event started with an opening speech from the Director of the Post-Graduate Program, F.X. Mukarto, Ph.D., who emphasized the significance of the theme and the critical importance of examining the impact of language and colonial policies on Africa's rich history and development. He acknowledged all the participants, highlighting their contributions to the event's success.

Throughout the discussion, Paulus Sarwoto, Ph.D., facilitated the conversation, ensuring that every perspective was fair and carefully considered.

This time ELS TALK featured two speakers, Prof. John Myhill from Haifa University, Israel and Prof Delphine Kessy from St. Augustine University, Tanzania. The focus was on the language and (post)colonial policy in Africa. Both speakers elaborated the scrambling of Africa by European colonizers and its consequences in terms of politics and language policy. They agreed that colonial policy has curtailed many vernacular languages in Africa and divided Africa into nation states whose national languages are mostly English, French, German, Portuguese, or Dutch. There is no one single vernacular language capable of being a lingua franca among African postcolonial states. Responding to this condition both speakers contended different argument. While Prof. Myhill was sceptical of the establishment of a lingua franca accepted by all African states, Prof Kessy argued for the possibility and the need for African states to have a lingua franca as an African identity.

A total of 64 students from both inside and outside ELS actively participated in the event, with 31 attendees present in the Kadarman Room at Sanata Dharma University. The participants came from diverse backgrounds, adding depth to the discussions with their varying viewpoints and experiences related to language and colonial policies in Africa. The insights shared by the participants offered a more comprehensive perspective on the topic, making the event a success.

One of the participating students expressed their thoughts, saying, "So far, the talk was so good and exciting. I personally enjoyed and learnt many things, particularly the role of language in uniting people of a country or region."

The ELS Talk 2023 successfully promoted intellectual discussions about the relationship between language, colonialism, and post-colonial policy in Africa. The event provided valuable insights and perspectives to the attendees, who found the discussions thought-provoking and insightful. (SG)

Click here to watch the full talk via Youtube.