Dear world, WE speak English…(I)

I know the topic would make it like this blog post is an over-bearing child throwing a tantrum. Well, that is the truth. I am an overbearing child writing on behalf of all overbearing children, who in one way, are made to feel inadequate because we happen to be from the motherland, Africa. First, let me note that this post does not in any way overlook our french-speaking African brothers and sisters. I am writing ‘English’ because it is the language I have had experience in.

Second, let me contextualize this. I have just completed by LLB and I am currently submitting applications for my LLM. Like many, I plan to attend one of the best law schools in the world.  However, I keep running into this animal called TOEFL or IELTS tests which essentially are English language tests meant to demonstrate proficiency. I understand fully the impediment language can place on learning. In fact, the need for selection committees to ensure that all candidates are qualified and unified in the instructing language cannot be overemphasized. It is the exemptions that has me worked up:

“[a]pplicants who are citizens of designated countries * and have completed …studies in English and have subsequently worked in an English speaking country.
* designated countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore,  Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and United States.”

Encountering statements, like the above, on many-a-university websites has got me thinking. I am remembering various incidences in the past, when abroad, receiving comments like:

“Where did you learn your English? Its really good”

“Your English is really good, did you grow up abroad?”

“You speak really good English, for an African”

“Did you learn English in Nigeria? its really good”

Of course, I wasted no time in informing the projectors of these comments that we speak “really good English” in Africa, sometimes at the expense of our indigenous languages. Nevertheless, I have never really considered that there may be a huge huge*(in President Trump’s voice) propaganda about the proficiency capacity of English speaking African countries. A propaganda which has rendered the children of these countries seriously prejudiced at the international level.


 To be continued.





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