‘Francophonie’ in turbulent times

“Although the term was coined over a century ago, “Francophonie” has become associated with France’s attempt to maintain (or project) its influence in various parts of  the world – but especially in Africa, where it has often been perceived as the “soft” corollary of “Françafrique” – even though it was first resurrected by Léopold Sedar Senghor.

Alain Mabanckou, the first African writer to be invited to lecture at the Collège de France, shares with most of his peers some serious misgivings about the incestuous connections between the “cultural” and “realpolitik” dimensions of France’s policies.” Edouard Bustin.

Read more on the subject:

On a suivi la “messe africaine” de Mabanckou au Collège de France

Ce 2 mai 2016, l’auteur de “Black Bazar” organisait un colloque pour “Penser et écrire l’Afrique noire”. Avec des invités comme Pap Ndiaye, Dany Laferrière ou Achille Mbembe.

Francophonie, langue française : lettre ouverte à Emmanuel Macron

Le président de la République a proposé à Alain Mabanckou de contribuer aux “travaux de réflexion” qu’il souhaite “engager autour de la langue française et de la Francophonie”. L’auteur de “Verre cassé” lui répond.

Alain Mabanckou refuse de participer au projet francophone d’Emmanuel Macron

Le président Emmanuel Macron a proposé à Alain Mabanckou de collaborer avec Leïla Slimani pour «contribuer aux travaux de réflexion autour de la langue française et de la francophonie». L’auteur de Petit Piment lui répond, acerbe, dans une lettre ouverte publiée sur BibliObs.

Why a celebrated Francophone Africa writer said no to president Macron’s Francophone project

In his speech to “Africa’s youth” in Ouagadougou, last November, France’s president Emmanuel Macron made a big deal of his plans to promote the French language around the world, with advice from African thinkers and others. Two weeks later, he invited Alain Mabanckou—the celebrated Congolese novelist and essayist—to take part.

But Mabanckou—who divides his time between Paris and Los Angeles, where he is a professor at UCLA—said non. In an open letter to Macron that ran on January 15 in the French magazine L’Obs, he rejected the whole venture. The French language is not under threat, he argues. Instead, La Francophonie—the Paris-based organization with 57 member countries, roughly equivalent to the Commonwealth—and other initiatives predicated on shared French language serve France’s political interests and those of African repressive elites.


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