Why were Sub-Saharan countries much more likely to keep their colonial languages' official status after independence?

Futurist

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May 2014
22,750
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Why were Sub-Saharan countries much more likely to keep their colonial languages' official status after independence? I mean, the Arab world, the countries of South Asia, and the countries of Southeast Asia generally didn't give "official language" status to the language of their former colonizers after they acquired independence, but much of Sub-Saharan Africa did, in fact, do this. Why was this the case? Was it because the borders in Africa were especially arbitrary and thus it was more crucial to have some kind of a lingua franca for their populations--with the languages of their former colonizers fitting the bill for this especially well? Or was there some other reason for this?

Any thoughts on this?

 

Futurist

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May 2014
22,750
SoCal
Also, Yes, the countries of the Americas did, in fact, also keep the languages of their former colonizers after independence. However, there was much, much more European settlement in the Americas than there was in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, in spite of this, a lot of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa nevertheless gave "official language" status to the languages of their former colonizers. For instance, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique still have Portuguese as an official language even right now while all or almost all of ex-French and ex-Belgian Africa still has French as an official language right now.
 

betgo

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Jul 2011
6,509
They have so many different tribal languages, so it is easier to use a European language as a standard. Also, France has maintained some control of most of its African former colonies.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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They have so many different tribal languages, so it is easier to use a European language as a standard.
Yep, that's what I suspected.

Also, France has maintained some control of most of its African former colonies.
Are France's ties with its former colonies much closer than those of other countries with their former colonies?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,909
Are France's ties with its former colonies much closer than those of other countries with their former colonies?
Well, yes...

In French the pejorative political code-word used by the opponents to France's hands-on approach to its former colonies is "Françafrique".
 
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Tulius

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May 2016
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Are France's ties with its former colonies much closer than those of other countries with their former colonies?
Portugal also maintains quite close links with its former five colonies. That even happened when they had Communist regimes, during the Cold War. The links were never fully broken.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Well, yes...

In French the pejorative political code-word used by the opponents to France's hands-on approach to its former colonies is "Françafrique".
Yes, I'm well-aware of the term. That said, though, I'm not really sure that Africans should actually complain about this since France is willing to use its own military to restore order and ensure stability in their countries. What's the downside?
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,193
Kansas
Also, Yes, the countries of the Americas did, in fact, also keep the languages of their former colonizers after independence. However, there was much, much more European settlement in the Americas than there was in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, in spite of this, a lot of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa nevertheless gave "official language" status to the languages of their former colonizers. For instance, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique still have Portuguese as an official language even right now while all or almost all of ex-French and ex-Belgian Africa still has French as an official language right now.
The way the countries were set up was the biggest problem. Rather than set things up along tribal lines. Europeans used the old divide and let them conquer themselves philosophy
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,909
Yes, I'm well-aware of the term. That said, though, I'm not really sure that Africans should actually complain about this since France is willing to use its own military to restore order and ensure stability in their countries. What's the downside?
There's a whiff, and not a little, of the old "white man's burden" or "la mission civilisatrice".
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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There's a whiff, and not a little, of the old "white man's burden" or "la mission civilisatrice".
Well, as long as France doesn't violate their sovereignty without their consent, I really don't see much of a problem with this.