How Britain and the CIA fooled Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe to destroy African languages in literature
How Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo & Co were deceived by Britain, the CIA & MI16 to destroy African languages in literature
The biggest mistake ever made by educated people on the African continent
In 1945, the second world war ended, however, with that end began an ideological and geopolitical tussle between Western powers led by USA and their allies (supremacist, capitalists) versus Eastern powers led by Russia and their allies (socialist, communists).
The two powers (East and West) began fighting a weaponless war of supremacy appropriately called the "cold war" in which both sides were vying to outdo each other to control the world. It's called cold war because no weapons were used, instead coercion, lies, threat, psychological means, rhetorics, espionage and things like that were used.
Their madness touched everywhere in the world and Africa wasn't left out. By the 1960's, colonialism having officially ended in most part of Africa, left some sort of colonial control vacuum, so Africa was caught up between two world powers on where our alliance should be. Some African countries were on the side of the West, while others were on the side of the East, mostly depending on who was the colonial master. So, with the colonial masters lurking in the horizon, our alliance as you'll soon realize was nothing but choosing who shall neo-colonize us. That's where Britain comes in.
As soon as colonialism officially ended, some smart Africans started writing books and other works of literature in our native languages. Some people even wrote books in Pidgin English because the embargo Britain placed on our native language was no longer in effect. People could then express themselves in languages other than English, so there was a kind of rejuvenation of native African languages going on at that time. However, that power to choose to write in our native language was a threat to the interest of Britain. They didn't like the idea of having us write anything in our native languages as that would've inevitably led to our coming to our senses to realize that we're African people and not European. This would have opened our eyes and would have ultimately led to our rejection of everything our ancestors didn't create. Britain realized what the outcome would be if we continue writing in our native languages, so they quickly plotted how to stop this burgeoning native African writing by all means.
In 1962, a conference was held in Uganda at Makerere University by post-colonial African authors who’ve been schooled in the English language. The theme was "conference of African Writers of English Expression" and the goal was to decide whether literature should be written in our native African language or in the slave master's language English. The conference was chaired by a British scholar named Gerald Moore and it was sponsored by an organization called the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), a Western anti-communist advocacy group founded in 1950 and run by the US central intelligence agency (CIA). Take note of that because you’ll hear about CCF again.
Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Christopher Okigbo, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Obiajunwa Wali and many others were present.
The questions raised and debated at the conference are as follows:
(1). What constitutes African literature?
(2). Is it literature written by Africans, literature that depicts the African experience?
(3). Does African literature have to be written in an African language?
Ngugi wa Thiong’o immediately stood up and pointed out that the title "conference of African Writers of English Expression" in and of itself was already biased against African languages and the purpose of the meeting because it excluded any African writer who didn’t write in English. In other words, it meant they've come to discuss how to advance English literature in Africa, instead of all genres of African authors. Ngugi was still a student at the Makerere university, so he wasn’t able to influence the majority of attendees. However, Obiajunwa Wali, an Ijaw man from South Nigeria and whom I’ve discovered to be the most enlightened person in that meeting, supported Ngugi's position. But Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo and Soyinka were in favor of the title and on the side of the English language. Unfortunately, those in favor of writing in the English language won. They won because those on the side of the English language were fully brainwashed by the CIA agents masquerading as scholars, who lobbied and gave them support of the colonial masters.
The reason I want to talk about this is because the outcome of that conference is the biggest mistake ever made by a group of Africans in support of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa. If that meeting went on the side of those in favor of writing in our native languages, we would have completely detached ourselves from Western control long ago. It would have ushered in a cultural revolution that would've awaken the African people to kick out anything not African. We would have been living in a different type of Africa built with our own language and ingenuity and not what white people teach us. It would have been the true end of colonialism. Unfortunately, the opportunity was lost. It is like a footballer having the ball face to face in front of a goal keeper when no opponent is near, then kicking the ball over the bar in an important football match.
The outcome of that conference spelt the death of our native African languages, which is why I have to communicate with you in English even when we have our own language. Should you be in a position to participate in such a meeting in the future, please don't make the mistake that Chinua Achebe and Soyinka made because they sold their birthright for a bowl of porrIdge and watery soup.
Things fall apart is English literature but it was written by an African