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Mapping African Postcoloniality: Linguistic and Cultural Spaces of Hybridity

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image of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

This paper discusses hybridity as a strategy of survival for those caught between the languages of their colonization and their indigenous languages and also illustrates how, through hybridization, postcolonial subjects use colonial languages without privileging colonial languages. Drawing on Bakhtinian notions of hybridization, this paper shows colonial and indigenous languages contesting each other's authority, challenging and unmasking the hegemony of English and to some extent Shona. Ndebele and Shona are indigenous languages spoken in Zimbabwe, Africa. However, this paper conceives the relationship of English and Ndebele as not always contestatory but as accomodating. Using Ogunyemi's (1996) notion of palaver, the paper extends our understanding of hybridity as marking both contestation and communion. Of particular significance is the way in which English is criticized even in the using of it in Amakhosi plays. This analysis of hybridity highlights the contradictoriness of colonized identity and establishes and confirms the idea of a hybridized postcolonial cultural and linguistic identity.


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