South Africa’s new language policy in the context of the organisation for African unity's language plan of action for Africa
This article it is argued that promoting exoglossic languages in Africa to the detriment of indigenous languages would be a great disservice to Africa and its peoples, especially from a cognitive and educational perspective, but also from the point of view of promoting African unity, identity and economic empowerment. It is also pointed out that the above will only be possible if civil society so intends. This again depends on the extent to which civil society is empowered by governments, the media and so on to make decisions concerning language issues in an informed manner. South Africa’s present language policy is discussed here in relation to the above, as well as in relation to language planning in Africa as a whole. In July 1987 the OAU council of ministers' forty-sixth ordinary session was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Here a language plan of action for Africa was adopted. As yet this language plan has not received wide publicity and politicians have been reluctant to comment on its relevance for Africa. This article explores this plan in relation to South Africa’s language policy and that of other African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Namibia.