Afrihili reflections

Language is a domain of struggle. The dominance of the colonial languages establishes conceptual and political vectors that reinforces the dominance of Europeans. Liberating our consciousness also requires the decolonization of our worldview. Languages are tools in this endeavor.

One of the most immediate challenges that I see with respect to the reclamation of African languages in the Diaspora, is the question of learnability. Language is a domain of struggle. The dominance of the colonial languages establishes conceptual and political vectors that reinforces the dominance of Europeans. Liberating our consciousness also requires the decolonization of our worldview. Languages are tools in this endeavor.

This is one of the reasons why Attobrah’s Afrihili is an interesting case. He sought to construct an Esperanto-like African language to serve the ends of Pan-African communication. Afrihili utilized words from various African languages, along with a relatively simple grammar.

Here I elaborate on Afrihili and its potential significance: http://www.quora.com/Can-a-language-like-Es…/…/Kamau-Rashid….

In the 1967, a Ghanaian engineer named K.A. Kumi Attobrah created an artificial Pan-African language named El-Afrihili. His language drew upon a range of African languages from throughout the continent.

As someone who has some knowledge of several African languages, there are a number of things within the language that are immediately recognizable. Examples include the word “zuri” (from Swahili) for “nice, “papa” (from Twi) for good, “sabo” (from Hausa) for “new”, and so on.

There are a few articles that have been written about it (here: http://lingweenie.org/conlang/afrihili/ and ” 2014 ” April Fiat Lingua). Also, Attobrah’s manual for the language can be found in a few libraries.

Sadly, Attobrah’s project did not catch on. However, Swahili, due to its flexibility and diffusion, is the best candidate for a Pan-African language.

The question remains, as to whether Attobrah’s work should be revived and perhaps augmented for Africans today.