Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Dr. Azaveli Lwaitama welcomes Professor Ngugi wa Thion'go at Nkrumah hall to speak
A senior lecturer of the University of Dar es Salaam, Dept of Linguistics Dr. Azaveli Lwaitama talking before the audience during the conference, and after which he welcomed Professor Ngugi on the stage.
Professor Ngugi stressing a point when delivering his speech. Among the most crucial things he spoke to his listeners was why Africans were fond of using foreign languages as this habit he termed as slavery.
This is how the Nkrumah hall, a venue for the 6th Pan-African Reading Conference for all was fully packed.
Seated closely with his wife who from time to time poured him tea with milk in a cup from the thermos she brought along with her, Professor Ngugi travelled along with his three children
Professor Ngugi wa Thion’go responding to a question asked by a Nigerian delegate to the conference who wanted to know from the professor what is likely to be the destiny of Africans who mostly relies on too much dependence on Foreign aid.
He said, in his first novel in Gikuyu entitled “Devil on the cross”, he wrote it on toilet paper while in a maximum security prison where he had been detained by a post colonial Kenyan government for having participated in the writing and performance of a play in his mother tongue. In spite of this, still he could believe even today that most African writers and other intellectuals have the duty to challenge and shake up that view of languages in theory and practice. The death of any language is the loss of knowledge contained in that language, and the weakening of any language is the weakening of its knowledge producing potential as it’s a human loss. This is a proverb he cited and compared this as the death on old person with the death of a library probably more true of languages. Professor Ngugi is on the view of the fact that, Africa must respect its own language so as to develop its mentality throughout, as Africa’s knowledge is part of economic and political development. Whatever is knowledgeable is an integral part of development.