Liberate the Base: Thoughts Toward an African Language Policy

  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’oEmail author
Living reference work entry


In this chapter Ngũgĩ raises debates and practices evident in many colonized societies which are at the heart of postcolonial theories, that of Indigenous languages, and the knowledges they hold. Ngũgĩ argues there are four perceived barriers to the establishment of an African language policy that form an orthodoxy difficult to shift. However, drawing on the work of language “border communities” and the work of the Jalada project, he shows how an African language policy can be developed that reflects current practices that empowers Africa and its peoples and protects its knowledge base.


African languages Language policy Translation Multilingualism Jalada project 


  1. Ngũgĩ (2009) Something torn and new: an African renaissance. Basic Civitas Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Ngũgĩ (2016) Secure the base: making Africa visible in the globe. Seagull Books, ChicagoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Leonie Pihama
    • 1
  • Jenny Lee-Morgan
    • 2
  1. 1.Te Kotahi Research InstituteThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Te Kotahi Research InstituteThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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