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The Contribution of the Use of English in Africa to Dependency in Mission and Development

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AbstractThis article looks at the use of English in mission in the Third World, especially Africa. The original attempt to limit the spread of English in British colonies has failed. The West’s perception that use of its languages internationally does away with troublesome cultural differences is shown to be deceptive; African nations’ governing themselves using English are troubled by dependency, incompetence and corruption of their people and institutions. The attraction to African nations of the use of English in formal contexts ignores its negative consequences, including creation of dependency. Unfamiliar categories in English undermine native sensibilities, while implicitly suggesting that native-English speaking nations hold the key to African prosperity. The church — a body that serves primarily neither political nor economic interests — could lead the way to empowering the ‘poor’ in Africa by encouraging the use of indigenous languages.

Affiliations: 1: Kima International School of Theology Maseno Kenya, Email:, URL:


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