Examination of the status of African indigenous languages, exploration of their changing fortunes as they had to contend with foreign languages for relevance and hegemony; and discussion of the response of Africans to language choice in pre-and post-Independence period.
The panel of academics including language and education experts and historians will attempt to explore some broad issues and factors which have determined the nature and course of language use in Africa following the coming of Arabs and Europeans to Africa since the 11th century. The panel will consider the status of indigenous languages considered basic for negotiation, respect and recognition; explore their changing fortunes as they had to contend with foreign languages for relevance and hegemony in religion and trade, politics and commerce, and communication. The response of Africans to this development will be examined as indigenous languages are considered as heritage that should never be lost but must be protected and preserved. The panel will examine the use of the school curriculum and examinations for the promotion of the language of the ruling power. The panel will the discuss how the attainment of Independence by African countries has led to the educational choice which has enhanced the development of indigenous languages. It will then explore the challenges that have faced the indigenous languages as the positive disposition towards indigenous languages in the immediate post- Independence era became unsustainable. The effect of globalisation and the increasing disregard for the culture will also be explored within the context of the establishment of Departments of African language and Institutes of African languages in African Universities.