«ANSA Alternatives to Neo-liberalism in Southern Africa The search for Sustainable human development in Southern Africa Editors: Godfrey Kanyenze, ...»
The Nguni cluster of mutually intelligible speech forms will include, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Kangwane and Ndebele. Sotho-Tswana includes, Pedi, Sotho, Tswana and Lozi. The two clusters, Nguni and Sotho-Tswana have speakers in six countries in each instance in the SADC region. What the CASAS work has so far revealed is that as first, second or third language speakers (we need to remember that most Africans are multilingual), over 75% of Africans speak no more than 12 core languages, these being Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Swahili, Amharic, Fulful, Mandenkan, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Luo, Eastern Inter-lacustrine and Western Inter-lacustrine (Kitara). Fifteen core languages will take us up to about 85% of the African population of the continent; the three additions being the Somali/Samburu/Rendille and Oromo/Borana clusters known as the Gur group. The addition of languages such as Kikongo, Luba, Akan, Mbundu, Lingala and Ovimbundu takes the percentage of Africans to about 90%. In a population of 600 to 700 million people, these languages cannot be described as small speech communities.
Initially, CASAS was mandated among other issues, to investigate The Classification of African Languages on the Basis of Mutual Intelligibility, this task was the first step towards the identification and development of speech communities around common orthographic solutions. An instrument for the measurement of mutual intelligibility of 85% or more was developed for the purpose. It has so far served as a viable basis for clustering mutually intelligible speech forms. Policy-makers, educational institutions and NGO's in African countries, who have demonstrated interest in this work, have been contacted. The need to consolidate the progress that has been made suggests the importance of producing literature based on the advances made with the development of new orthographies. The language clusters are all cross-border languages. For this reason it is important to work regionally and not attempt to restrict the rationality and relevance of the work we do into state borders.
In Southern Africa, following on a series of Workshops held in Lilongwe, Johannesburg and in Maputo early in 2002, the Unified Standard Orthography for South-Central African Languages: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, was published as number 11 in the CASAS Monograph Series. Languages such as ciNyanja/ciCewa, ciNsenga/ciNgoni, eLomwe, eMakhuwa, ciYao, ciTumbuka/ciSenga, ciBemba, kiKaonde, Lunda and ciLuvale, and related dialects will now have a single spelling system, rather than three or more spelling systems within the same language, or even more systems across related Bantu languages. One major spin off is that second or third language speakers of African languages in the nationstates will not have to relearn their alphabets to be able to read material in another language as is currently the case. This in turn means materials will be accessible to a wider audience. Another related text published by CASAS in 2002 was Language Across Borders: Harmonization and Standardization of Orthographic Conventions: South-Central African Languages, number 12 in the CASAS Book Series. Since then, three language clusters, which represent collectively the speech forms of the majority of people in Southern Africa have been harmonised. These are Nguni, SeSotho/Setswana, and XiTsonga/XiChangana/XiRonga. The new orthographies and spelling systems for the above languages have been finalised and published.
Their listing and titles are as follows:
• A Unified Standard Orthography for the Nguni Languages of Southern Africa (CASAS Monograph Series, No.30) • A Unified Standard Orthography for the SeSotho-SeTswana Languages of Southern Africa (CASAS Monograph Series, No. 31) • A Unified Standard Orthography for XiTsonga/XiChangana (CASAS Monograph Series, No. 32).
The completion of the above work has opened a way for the beginning of the production of literacy and educational materials on a large scale (24).
However, to proceed further, the need has been identified for large numbers of writers and teachers' workshops to be undertaken which will educate prospective authors in the use of the new orthographies. Some literature has already been produced following the initial writers and teachers' workshops.
Glossaries for science and technology are compendia of terms, which capture the scientific terminology relevant to a given discipline or area of science, both natural and social. All developing and advancing languages, worldwide, use glossaries either as separate compendia or integrated into general dictionaries. As the scientific knowledge in a discipline develops, it becomes crucial to assemble terms that reach out into all corners of the knowledge world captured by science for a given discipline. It is one of the vital tasks that would need to be undertaken systematically in Africa if advancement is to be made in science and technological development using African languages. Glossaries are also vital for teaching science in local languages. Once they have been produced, they feed directly into the production of textbooks for primary, secondary and subsequently tertiary education. Indeed, it is inconceivable that scientific and technological education in Africa can proceed without the development of glossaries in African languages. Closely related to the glossaries are dictionaries, which would need to be produced. These can be constructed from existing word lists or reconstructed from existing dictionaries.
It is important that greater advocacy work contact with governments, NGOs and public officers who are crucial to the use of African language be drawn into the exercise. The Trade Union Movement in Southern Africa must have a prominent role in this effort. With the cooperation and support of the trade unions much headway could be made.
7. Closing remarks
In sum our argument in this paper has been that if Southern Africa, or Africa for that matter, is to achieve the development goals desired by all, African culture in general and African languages in particular need to be located at the heart of the efforts. No society in the post-colonial world is advancing on the basis of colonial languages.
It is important to reiterate that African languages are fundamental and vital for the achievement of African development objectives. There is no chance for African development if Africans continue to use colonial languages. Once this message is understood, the road forward becomes logical and clear.
FOOD FOR THOUGHTBox 9 Who is to lead the struggle?
Why the Southern African states and state structures are unable to lead the struggle By now it should be clear why the states in Southern Africa, as currently constituted, are unable to lead the struggle for an alternative development strategy. Earlier it was noted that many scholars have, in recent years, argued for the so-called "development state", one that departs radically from the "free market state". If it is possible to create such a state in the Southern African region, the ANSA-Strategy is in favour of such a state. Indeed, the ANSAStrategy goes further than the concept of the "development state", and introduces the additional idea that such a state must also be an "ethical state", one that is committed to providing for the basic human rights of the populations.
However, such a state is unlikely to suddenly appear in the region. The region is too deeply embedded in the colonially inherited structures, especially with the EU. That the government of Zimbabwe in recent years has taken the issue of land reform and persevered in the face of threats and sanctions by the UK, the EU and the USA is actually an aberration. The government of Robert Mugabe might have preferred a peaceful and negotiated settlement with the Empire, as indeed was possible under the Conservative government of John Major in the UK.
But the Labour government of Tony Blair denied this possibility. It is only then that the rupture with the Empire (at least on this issue) became inevitable.
Whether the state in Zimbabwe will pursue this rupture to its logical conclusion is anybody’s guess. If the state re-establishes its links with the UK, the USA and the EU, this should surprise nobody. It is in the nature of the state that has not made a revolutionary rupture with the forces of globalisation to re-establish its relationship with the Empire in the name of "returning to normalcy".
At best, what may be expected from some of the states in the region, is the application of some of the developmentalist ideas of Mahathir bin Mohamad, as analysed earlier. But much hope must not be placed on this happening. In fact, the reverse seems to be happening. In both AGOA and in NEPAD, the states in the region are clutching at any straw that the winds of globalisation blow in their direction. This is jeopardising genuine human centred development in their countries, as well as all prospects of integrative regionalism.
Why resistance arises under globalisation as a popular movement led by the productive classes and the marginalised Marxist literature holds that it is the working people that should be in the vanguard in the struggle against capitalism, but which working classes? The experience of Southern Africa does not inspire confidence in the validity of this proposition. The example of Zambia is too clear and too fresh. President Chiluba’s government drew its electoral strength from the unions and the
FOOD FOR THOUGHTBox 9 Who is to lead the struggle? (continued)
working classes, but Chiluba’s was also the government in Zambia that went furthest in the privatisation of state assets, and in deepening the relations with the IMF, and the World Bank. It was also one of the most corrupt governments in the region. In the case of South Africa, to take another instance of this vexing issue, there are tensions within sections of the leadership in the trade unions on the question of their relations with the state. Granted, these are complex and difficult issues, but the orthodox Marxist proposition and the reality on the ground in southern Africa need critical and honest appraisal.
One thing is obvious. The Southern African condition is not a classic textbook situation of a bi-polarised class struggle between capitalists and the working classes. While the liberation of the working people from exploitation is an important aspect of the struggle, so is the continuing struggle for national selfdetermination. The "nation state" is a historical construct. However, for now it can provide the basis for advancing the self-determination of the people until better structures than "nation-states" evolve through the movement of history.
National political independence has cleared the way, but it has not completed the process. The embedded relationship with the EU, for example, exploits the working people in Southern Africa, but it also makes it impossible for a national entrepreneurial class to emerge. On the contrary, the processes of globalisation negate any exercise of policy options on the part of the state to encourage industrialisation and the development of local entrepreneurship that is independent of global corporate capital and the strings of the Empire.
What we witness in Southern Africa is de-industrialisation and a decline in the number and strength of the political structures of the working classes – the unions. Vast numbers of the population are trapped in subsistence and even a below-subsistence level of existence in rural and peri-urban areas. The inequalities between those in the so-called "modern" sector and those in the "non-formal" sectors are widening. The basic human rights of the people are denied to them in the apparently inexorable march of globalisation.
In this kind of situation, resistance against the system takes the form of popular uprising, one that is not limited to the working people only, but also includes all people who are left out of the formal or the so-called "modern" production process altogether. This is not a purely African phenomenon. It is also the case in a number of Asian and Latin American countries.
The stage of historical struggle is characterised by orthodox theorists as between capital and labour, but the capital-labour struggle in the Southern African context is over determined by the North-South contradiction. This is the epochal struggle that began before the rise of capitalism, and will probably endure its demise.
FOOD FOR THOUGHTBox 10 At the global level: some immediate actions to counter capitalled globalisation In the immediate to short run, the ANSA-strategy starts from a defensive posture in order to stop the juggernaut of globalisation crushing the people under its wheels. Among the most urgent actions that the people need to
organise themselves for are the following (the list is not exhaustive):
1) Demand that further privatisation of essential social services and public assets forced on the southern African states by outside pressure be stopped at once. In this context, demand of the governments of the region to stop further liberalisation of services under pressure from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
2) Demand that a concerted step is taken by southern African governments to stop paying all illegitimate external debts incurred during apartheid and the struggle against colonial occupation, as well as debts for which there is no evidence that material gain was made by the people of the region.
3) Demand of their governments to plug all the holes through which capital flows out of the region. There can be no Domestic Capital Accumulation (DCA) until these holes are plugged. DCA and not FDI (foreign direct investment) is the only guaranteed basis of sustainable and sustained development.
4) Demand of their governments and foreign governments that all southern Africa’s looted wealth in the banks of the Western countries (including money externalised through corrupt means) is returned to the region.
5) Organise local knowledge systems and expertise that should take the place of foreign experts and consultants. All planning, monitoring and evaluation of development should be primarily an internal affair and not one, as at present, handed over to the “experts” from or engaged by the IMF, the World Bank and the donors.