Vote of thanks by Adeolu Ademoyo
“It is a privilege and honor being asked to give this vote of thanks. Having worked together for the last two weeks, it is obvious that human emotions which define how we have worked together constructively as professionals in the field will set in at the point of departure and leaving. The two Institutes have demonstrated that the development, sustainability and viability of the teaching of African languages as second languages rest on professionalism in the field. The issue of professionalism is a core issue in our Institute, the Professional Development Institute in African Languages. Thanks to Professor Eyamba Bokamba who made this a core and key point in his directorship of the Institute. Professor Bokamba rigorously engaged the need for development and professionalism in the field from the standpoints of methodology and pedagogy. Professor Bokamba, at this point you will permit me to be slightly personal. It is one thing to be an instructor; it is another to deliver one’s instruction with grace and sensitivity to the field from a professional point of view. On behalf of the Professional Development Institute, I am thanking you for the rigor, efficiency, thoroughness, depth, professionalism, patience and grace with which you successfully directed the Institute. In your Instruction and teaching, you showed that there is elegance in grace and thoroughness. We thank you for being an excellent human being to us, and for being very kind and gracious with your knowledge. You broke the boundaries among generation and made the task simple and effective. We learnt a lot. From you and the Institute, we took away the fact that the future and development of the field depends on professionalism, and that a successful learning outcome of students in the field is determined by relevant methodology in teaching and how well developed and programmed the PALs are. Thank you so much Professor Bokamba.
Shortly before we had our final session at the Institute, about four of us were having an informal tété-à-tètè during break. Professor Jacques Du Plessis was part of the informal tête-à-tête. By chance, the four of us belong to different languages and regions from Africa. It seems to me that wherever two or three Africans are gathered there you find a rich form of diversity. Africa and Africans are the most diverse peoples and the most diverse region in the world. It seems that sense of human diversity predispose us to put the human being at the center of things. This is a core issue in Professor Du Plessis’ technology session. He said in the use of technology in the teaching of African languages, we should make technology serve us rather we as humans serving technology. In other words, an efficient learning outcome in African languages is determined by making technology to serve us. In Professor Du Plessis’ lecture and instruction, we learnt the meeting point between and symbiosis of pedagogy and technology in the field of African languages. On behalf of the Institute, I thank you Professor Du Plessis for the new and creative insight you brought to the integration between technology and pedagogy of African languages during the Institute.
The successful delivery of a new baby is determined by the efficiency and professionalism of the midwives. Here, I am talking about the NALRC staff: Sophie, Melinda, John, Modupe, Nyasha, Isaac and NALRC volunteer Carla. It has been two weeks of professional and administrative bustling wherein you made things work. Permit me to use the word “harassment”. On behalf of the two Institutes, I am thanking you for allowing us to “harass” you. We asked, we demanded, we inquired and you delivered with sense of administrative responsibility, duty, enthusiasm and smiles. You were there for us for two weeks.
We thank you for being there and for being good and kind human beings to us. We will miss your humanness. At this juncture, I must mention what some of my colleagues in the Institute asked me to say. I was asked to ask you to spread the word about our NALRC in your various universities in other for us to be able to expand and professionalize the field of African languages. . In other words, we the participants at the Institutes should see ourselves as media for the viability and expansion of the field. I thank you all for being constructive participants and professionals in the field.
A while ago Professor Bokamba referred to Professor Schleicher’s professional role in the field as a mother. Here is a Yoruba song that captures that role. Iya ni wura… which means Mother is gold. At this point I am talking about intellectual mothering of the field of African languages. Professor Schleicher, consistent with the truest sense of African thought which privileges the dynamic relation between the individual and the collective, you often talk about the origin of the NALRC and the collective of Professor Bokamba, others and you. We want to thank you for the vision in creating the NALRC. It has become a major professional instrument in the field of African languages. I thank you for the grace with which you constantly refer to your colleagues who have been there with you in the NALRC from the beginning. I thank you for the NALRC vision. May this endure.It has been an honor and privilege standing before you to do this. I thank you for giving me this honor.”