Language Policies, Intercultural Antagonisms and Dialogue
Edited By Kamal Salhi
Gabrielle Parker - France and Southern Africa: Culture, Co-operation and Language Policy 291
GABRIELLE PARKER France and Southern Africa: Culture, Co-operation and Language Policy The French system of co-operation was comprehensively overhauled in 1998. The new titles adopted in the reorganisation is significant: the country now has a single Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, which in- cludes within its remit Cooperation and Francophonie. It is in the context of this new institutional framework, itself reflecting policy changes in response to a 'New World Order', that the evolution of French policy towards Southern Africa in matters of culture, co-operation and language is examined in this chapter. According to the French Ministere des Af- faires Etrangeres, the three key words that characterise France's African policy are 'Fidelite, adaptation, ouverture' .1 The reformed system presents Ia Francophonie as an essential part of international cooperation as a result of the values it conveys through its shared culture: co-operation takes place at one and the same time on the linguistic and cultural levels as well as on the economic, social and politicallevels.2 Image- and the influence attached to it- is of special importance. That the two missions- co-operation, Francophonie- should be yoked together is more important than an acknowledgement of a hitherto implicit reality: co-operation assists the spread of the language, and language acts as a medium for co-operation. It is also a recognition that making this link explicit will help to embed it in the consciousness of all parties participating in the process. However, the word Cooperation can have different meanings, de- pending on the standpoint adopted. For...
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