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Ghana literary borders / Text Elizabeth Johnson

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Closing the gaps between francophone &anglophone literary scenes

A quick search on the West Africa Literary scene will introduce one to an endless list of writers predominantly from Anglophone West Africa. The reason for this is simple. With English being one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, it is a first call for many publishing firms to first publish in English before considering translating into other languages such as French when the book has had a successful run. The relationship between Francophone and Anglophone West African literary scene has been one strained by the major barrier of language, among other things with Ghana not being an exception.

With English being its first Language, Ghana is one of the six Anglophone West African countries surrounded by 7 out of the 11 Francophone West African countries. In Ghana, French is a compulsory subject up until the Junior High School level. However, the number of people who study French drastically reduces by the time of reaching the University. In theory, this should mean that the average Ghanaian should speak basic French without much difficulty, but this is not the case. The inability to communicate in basic French makes it impossible to read literature in this language.  This leaves the rich francophone literature a blind area for the English speaking Ghanaian, the literature enthusiast and in general the Anglophone West African or African.

in something Africans got
issue 11, preview
Elizabeth Johnson