The integration of language and development in drama and theatre

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Chapter 3 Theoretical Framework


The previous chapter focused on reviewing literature related to the present study. This chapter presents two theoretical frameworks and one conceptual framework which are used to analyse data and pave way forward on how language should be used for development through drama and theatre in Zimbabwe. The two theories to be discussed are the African Renaissance theory of development and Hyme’s SPEAKING Model and finally the concept of Theatre for Development. A detailed analysis of these theories is going to be elaborated in the chapter and the justification for choosing them vis-a-vis the study in question.

Theoretical framework

The study is underpinned by three theories which assist in explaining the nexus between language, theatre/drama and development. Firstly, the chapter explains the African Renaissance theory of development which was propounded by Kwame Nkrumah the former president of the Ghana. The theory started as a Pan Africanist movement which advocated the unity of the people of Africa. It then continued to be developed to the African Renaissance approach. In addition, the SPEAKING theory by Hymes is also going to be discussed. This model was put forward in 1962 by Dell Hymes as the concept of Ethnography of communication. The ethnography of communication is explored as it allows the researcher to understand the relationships of the people in the speaking act and the setting. In this instance the SPEAKING model will have to be understood as it is used in the analysis. The chapter further analyses and discuses Theatre for Development as another approach which the researcher utilises in the study.

African Renaissance theory

African renaissance theory started as a political ideology called Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism was born out of a realisation that African people were a downtrodden group and that they are not only culturally related but also share similar problems and aspirations. The theory was propounded by Kwame Nkrumah.

The historical background of the theory

Nkrumah served as the first President of Ghana and later the first Prime Minister of Ghana. An influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. Kwame Nkrumah emerged from a typically humble Ghanaian socio-economic background. By the close of the last millennium, however, he had become Africa’s Man of the Millennium. He was born on September 21 1909 and trained at Achimota School in Accra as a teacher graduating in 1930. During his years at Achimota School and also the few years he taught in primary schools in Ghana Nkrumah came under the influence of Pan-Africanist scholars like E. Kwegyir Aggrey, whose firm belief in the African renaissance and the advancement of the Africans through purposeful education inspired him to decide to study in the United States of America (US). Under the influence of implacable nationalists like Kobina Sekyi, Samuel R. Woode (a veteran nationalist and Secretary of the National Congress of British West Africa) and anti-imperialists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe (Editor-in-Chief of the African morning Post) and I. T Wallace Johnson all of whom were actively campaigning against colonialism and imperialism   in  Africa.  (Nkrumah 1957)
Nkrumah left the shores of Ghana for studies abroad with deep memories of militant anti-colonial and anti-imperialist intellectual and political activities His experience in the US, as a student of Lincoln University and University of Pennsylvania, and the United Kingdom (where he did political work among African students and Diasporan anti-imperialists and Pan Africanists) convinced him of the need to fight to end colonialism and imperialism at all cost (Nkrumah 1957). By the time he returned to the UK at the end of his studies in the US his views on the colonial question and the need for African unity had been firmed up. He used his short stay in the UK, during which he assisted in organizing fellow Africans studying there and Diaspora Africans into anti-colonial and anti-imperialists fronts which culminated in his facilitation of the Fifth Pan African Congress in Manchester. According to Nkrumah (1957) in his autobiography, this doubtlessly prepared him for the anti-colonial struggle, and for the struggle for African unity which he plunged into upon returning to Ghana. For him freedom from colonial rule and African unity were necessary preconditions for the African revolution which was the transformation of the social and economic structures of the continent and improvements in the material conditions of African peoples. In his ‘Towards Colonial Freedom written in (1945) Nkrumah had emphatically stated that transformation of the economies and societies of West African States from backwardness into progress and prosperity for the people could be attained not from the mere attainment of independence but on the creation of a commonwealth of West African states.
In the words of Nkrumah himself, he says, “years ago, I felt that Africa needs to buttress her unimpeachable claim to political independence with parallel efforts to expose to the world the bases of her rich culture and civilisation through the medium of a scholarly Encyclopaedia” (Asante 2012). Africa had a noble past which astounded even the ancient Roman world with its great surprises. Yet, it was only much later, after a millennium and a half of African history that Africans are now busily engaged in reconstructing for the entire world to know, that racial exploitation and imperialist domination deliberately fostered a new and monstrous mythology of race which nourished the popular but unfounded image of Africa as the « Dark Continent. » In other words, a Continent whose inhabitants were without any past history, any contribution to world civilization, or any hope of future development—except by the grace of foreign tutelage! Before the colonial era in Africa, Europeans had had many encounters with Africans on the cross-roads of history. Europeans had married into African royal families, received Africans into their courts as ambassadors and social equals, and their writers had depicted African characters as great heroes in their literature. In common with the rest of mankind Africans made extensive use of cereals, they learned the art of raising cattle, adapted metal tools and weapons to their own use, and, to quote Davidson (1984: 94) undertook mining and smelting and forging on a continental scale, borrowed crops from other lands, introduced soil conservation, discovered the medicinal value of a host of herbs and plants, and worked out their own explanations of mankind and the universe. All this had happened before the first ships set forth from Europe.
This proves that Africa had a way of life way before the Europeans came to Africa so the call to return back to the roots is a noble idea which the African nations felt very important in order to restore their identity (Asante, 2012).

Pan – Africanism

According to the department of Social Affairs (2013) in an AU Echo Special Edition, Pan Africanism is an ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans’ worldview. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and aims to unify and uplift people of African descent. The ideology asserts that the fates of all African peoples and countries are intertwined. This means that African challenges are more or less similar hence they should be addressed the same way through unity of the Africans . At its core, Pan Africanism is a belief that the African people both on the continent and in the Diaspora, share not only merely a common history but a common destiny.
AU Echo (2013) in the special edition of the AU Summit, notes that Pan Africanism is an ideology which stresses the need for a “collective self reliance.”. It exists as a governmental and grassroots objectives as outlined by Pan African leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah and Muammar Gaddafi as well as grassroots advocates such as Marcus Garvey and Malcom X, academic advocates such as W.E. Du Bois and others in the Diaspora. As a philosophy, Pan Africanism represent the aggregation of the historical, cultural, spiritual, artistic, scientific and philosophical legacies of Africans from past times, to the present. As an ethical system, Pan Africanism traces its origins from ancient times, and promotes values that are the product of the African civilisation and the struggles against slavery, racism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. In essence Pan Africanism is also seen as an endeavour to return to ‘traditional’ African concepts about culture, society and values. Examples of this include Leopold Sedar Sengor’s Negritude movement and Mobuthu Sese Seko’s view of Autheniticite (AU Echo 2013).
The return to ‘traditional’ African concepts about culture, society and values is also emphasised by Chacha (2003) when he discusses Nyerere’s move to promote the indigenous languages of Kenya. Chacha (2003) posits that the bold cultural choice that Mwalimu made by adopting an indigenous language was not only a rejection of Western – centrality but also as an instrument of social integration and unity of the people both nationally and continentally. He understood that the question of development is inextricably linked to whether or not a majority of the people are included in decision making by virtue of being conversant with the language of governance. Neither did he believe in continued dependence on foreign languages to articulate African concerns as this tended to retard Pan Africanism.

Understanding the theory of African Renaissance

Having highlighted the concept of Pan Africanism, it is important to note that even if the patriarchs of the ideology may be gone but the fire they ignited is still burning, (Chacha 2003). The issue of Pan Africanism has generated more rhetoric and literature and dominated political discourse more than any other issue. As globalisation witnesses growing nationalism in other continents of the world and Africa risks marginalisation, African thinkers intellectuals and literacy icons such as Ali Mazrui, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Okot p’ Bitek and Wole Soyinka have made passionate pleas for a cultural re – awakening which they see as a first step towards social, political and economic growth. Diop (1974) notes that the African Renaissance ideology stems from the premise that any human civilisation ought to be self-independent, self-determined and be proud of its own identity. In this regard it is insincere to say that African countries lack this will but to be fair, the attitude possessed by most African statesman and congressman falls short of propelling the dream of a greater Africa. The idea of African Renaissance demands that African leaders and their followers all need to work hard to place Africa at par with its fellow continents both economically and politically.
The term African Renaissance is being widely spread among African scholars. Scholars, intellectuals, and the public have not found a common ground on whether this is a phenomenon or an ideal; however, the idea of the rebirth of some sort of Africanism (for example cognitive process, culture, political ideals, economic structure and others) seems to be the common denominator of a present or immanent African Renaissance according to Miller (1993), Marable (1995), and Wa Thiong’o (1996). By way of definition, African Renaissance has been defined by the African Renaissance Institute as:
A shift in the consciousness of the individual to re – establish our diverse traditional African values, so as to embrace the individual’s responsibility to the community and the fact that he/ she in community with others together are in charge of their own destiny.
This implies that when renaissance is under discussion, there is need for the people to re – think their past in order to select some aspects of that past to use them as a platform to formulate plans for the future. For example, in terms of health, politics and many more, the past experiences of a people should be their point of reference for action. In support of the same view, Jose (2009) suggests that the term African Renaissance can be looked at in two parts, African and Renaissance within the main concept of African renaissance. The term African has been used to define the beliefs and philosophies that are indigenous to Africa. Terms such as traditional African values and return to aspects of Africa’s indigenous civilisation imply that there are such things as traditional values and indigenous civilisations that are unique to Africa.
The use of the term “renaissance” however needs to be clarified. According to Louw (2000), renaissance refers to the revival of art and literature under the influence of classical models in the 14th to 10th centuries, the period during which this took place or the “culture and style of art, architecture…” The word also implies “any similar revival” (Thompson 1995:1163). When the idea of African renaissance was introduced, Nkrumah’s vision was political, cultural and philosophical and Afro- centric. This is the meaning of Nkrumah’s proposal for a new African personality, one loosed from an attachment to European and American cultural entanglements. According to Asante (2012) the character of Nkrumah’s African vision poses that he is among the first to call for an Afro centric reality for Africans. Africans believe they are entering a new era that is being referred to as the African Renaissance. This era, if properly defined, could impact the value system of all Africans who are searching for their lost cultural heritage. The search for a lost cultural heritage may be reflected in Christian churches and schools that emulate Western-based curriculums and Western forms of expression, for example language, music, forms of praise and worship, administration.
The initial push for a contemporary African version of ‘renaissance’ was articulated initially by Cheikh Anta Diop in mid 20th century and in our times, by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The latter was to be joined by former Nigerian and Senegalese Presidents Obasanjo and Wade respectively. Asante (2012) observes that in the history of African Renaissance, like Nkrumah, Chiekh Anta Diop was born in the colonial era, educated in the schools established by the colonial teachers, yet he was capable of reading the documents of Western culture with two sets of notes, one for the examinations and another for his personal sanity. When Diop comes across books which say that Europe invented science he wrote in the margins that this was a lie. When the books are written that Africans were inferior and had no philosophers, Diop wrote in the margins, that this was false. When there was said that Europe originated civilisation he wrote Europeans had falsified history (Asante 2012). This implies that Diop does not buy to the idea that Africa had no history as was put across by other European scholars. Thus he posits that there is no history and there have been no men or women any greater than the geniuses produced by Africans. There are no places any more sacred than that have been hallowed by the deeds and presence of African ancestors. Marcus Garvey had it right, ‘the West has out propagandised us’, (Diop 1974). The African Renaissance cannot be understood through a fragmentation of its various social components, that is, religion, culture, economy, identity, education, and many more. Africa is a continent of interrelationships in which all aspects of life are interrelated. To separate education from culture, economy, identity and religion is to do injustice to the continent and its people. It follows that religion is an integral part of life in the African’s modus operandi.
Jose (2009) has it that African Renaissance is recognition of the spirit of Pan Africanism. The continuity between Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance is evident also in the arena of formal education, a phenomenon inherited from colonialism that divides Africans when posed with questions surrounding its value in the anti colonial and anti globalisation fight. On the other hand, Diop (1974) suggests that the call for African Renaissance is not essentially a new phenomenon, historically the desire to shrug off colonialism has been characterised as Pan – Africanism, Negritudism, Liberation, Freedom fight among others. A prominent philosophy reflective of anti – colonial sentiment and closely linked to the African Renaissance is Pan Africanism which is an attempt to mobilise Africans to unite against the tyranny of colonialism by redefining an African identity and freedom independent of colonial influence.
Looking at the concept of African Renaissance as a contemporary model from Pan Africanism, it entails that African people and nations achieve cultural, scientific, economic renewal. As the concept was first articulated by Diop in a series of essays beginning in 1946, which are collected in his book, Towards the African Renaissance: Essays in Culture and Development 1946 -1960, the book gets to the heart of issues that dominate his thought as an  intellectual and a scholar on Africa. According to the Echo edition (2013), African renaissance even if it is related to other aspects of African culture, language remains key to achieving the grand objective for the continent. Relating language to African Renaissance explicitly, Diop eloquently notes that, “the development of our indigenous languages is the prerequisite for a real African Renaissance”. In light of the above view, this study will benefit from this theory as it is also looking at language used in drama and theatre assessing how development is enhanced by such. This can only be understood if the language used can be understood by the intended audience and thus development can also be meaningful that way.
Furthermore, on the issue of language, Chacha (2003) posits that to accomplish the Pan African goals and objectives, and realise a renewal and a re – awakening for the African people, scholars of Africa must embrace a new theoretical approach. The new approach rests on recognition of the role of language, an indigenous African language which will not only facilitate social integration but also spur technological and economic prosperity. It has to be noted that the theory poses that continued reliance on imperfectly mastered foreign languages retards ingenuity and performance in scientific and technical pursuits. This hampers economic growth, political stability and social cohesion. In support of the above notion, Mazrui and Tidy (1984:3000) have articulately argued that:
English and French are invaluable in various ways for modern African development. They help integrate African in world culture, they are politically neutral in the content of African multi – ethnic societies. But they do not necessarily help to overcome the crisis of national integration which is one of the most fundamental political problems facing African countries.
This therefore means there is need to be identified with an indigenous language as they enhance people’s cultural identity and guarantee a remarkable development of the African personality in terms of self – reliance, self – confidence, resourcefulness and innovativeness among others. Stressing on the need to promote the use of African languages, Roscue (1997:4) articulates that:
African aspiration, ideally should be expected in African language. How can national hopes with their special nuances rising from traditional societies and their value inherited from a non – European ethic resonate in people’s hearts via a language which is firstly alien, the product of a foreign way of life and world view and secondly spoken by a small minority.

Key Terms
List of Acronyms
List of Tables
1.1 Area of Investigation
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Aim of the Study
1.4 Justification of the Study
1.5 Literature Review
1.6 Research Methodology.
1.7 Theoretical Framework
1.8 The Synchronisation of theories
1.9 Scope of the Study
1.10 Definition of Terms
1.11 Conclusion
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Status of current researches on drama and theatre in the World
2.2 Status of current researches on drama and theatre in Africa
2.3 Status of current researches on drama and theatre in Zimbabwe
2.4 The interface of drama/ theatre and development
2.5 Theatre and drama as instruments of empowerment.
2.6 The Relationship between language and development
2.7 The Power of Language: How Discourse influences Development
2.8 Language of African Theatre
2.9 Language and economic development
2.10 Conclusion
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Theoretical framework
3.2 Applicability of the Theories
3.3 Conclusion
4.0 Introduction
4.1 ResearchMethodology
4.2 ResearchDesign
4.3 SamplingStrategies
4.4 ResearchParticipants
4.5 ResearchInstruments
5.0 Introduction
5.1 Presentationoffindingsfromquestionnaire
5.2 FindingsfromAcademics/Lecturers’Questionnaires
5.3 PresentationoffindingsfromIntervuews
5.4 Conclusion
6.0 Introduction
6.1 The integration of language and development in drama and theatre
6.2 The nature of drama
6.3 The historical perspective of language for development through drama
6.4 The role of language in development
6.5 The importance of language in drama and theatre
6.6 Language as an expression of hope through drama and theatre
6.7 Drama asa a tool of re-awakening African languages
6.8 Drama/ Theatre as a tool to raise people’ consciousness
6.9 Drama/ Theatre and social development through language
6.10 Drama/ theatre and political development through language
6.11 Drama/ theatre and economic development
6.12 Conclusion
7.0 Introduction
7.1 Summary of the Study
7.2 Conclusion of the study
7.3 Recommendations

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