A successful African Languages in the Disciplines and Professions Conference & the Neville Alexander Memorial Lecture took place on April 21st and 22nd, 2016. This conference aims to engage a diverse range of scholars and African heritage communities in serious discussion about the contributions of African languages to the disciplines.
Indigenous African languages are vital to comprehending how Africans understand, organize, and transmit essential knowledge to successive generations, both through oral and written traditions and through aesthetic practices. African languages play a critical role in research as they serve as road maps for identifying how African social, political, and economic institutions change over time. The ALD conference provides a platform for diverse scholarly discussions about the contributions of African languages across a variety of disciplines.
This year’s conference included panelists from across Africa and the globe, discussing topics related to the “Use of African Languages in African Institutions”, “Nko Business”, and “Preservation, Reconstruction, and Dissemination of Intangible Cultural Heritage.”
The highlight of the event was the Neville Alexander Memorial Lecture featuring Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Born in Kenya, Ngugi became East Africa’s leading novelist with books like Weep Not, Child (1964), A Grain of Wheat (1967) and The River Between (1965).
The two day event included a show by Harvard African Language Theater performers and a feast of African food. The conference concluded with a engaging poetry reading by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Njeeri wa Ngugi.