How Britain & the CIA deceived Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe to destroy African languages in literature
The biggest mistake ever made by educated people on the African continent
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 Sonyinka, 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 African languages?
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 who I’ve discovered to be the most enlightened person in that meeting, supported Ngugi's position. But Chinua Achebe 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.