African French is the generic name of the varieties of French spoken by an estimated 115 million (2007) people in Africa spread across 31 francophone countries. This includes those who speak French as a first or second language in these 31 francophone African countries (dark blue on the map), but it does not include French speakers living in non-francophone African countries. Africa is thus the continent with the most French speakers in the world. French arrived in Africa as a colonial language. These African French speakers are now an important part of the Francophonie.
French is mostly a second language in Africa, but in some areas it has become a first language, such as in the region of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Libreville, Gabon and on the Island of Réunion. In some countries it is a first language among some classes of the population, such as in Tunisia and Morocco where French is a first language among the upper classes (many people in the upper classes are simultaneous bilinguals in Arabic/French), but only a second language among the general population. It was handed down by their ancestors, who spoke African French.
In each of the francophone African countries French is spoken with local specificities in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary.
Famous quotes containing the words african and/or french:
“The fact that white people readily and proudly call themselves white, glorify all that is white, and whitewash all that is glorified, becomes unnatural and bigoted in its intent only when these same whites deny persons of African heritage who are Black the natural and inalienable right to readilyproudlycall themselves black, glorify all that is black, and blackwash all that is glorified.”
—Abbey Lincoln (b. 1930)
“I will soon be going out to shape all the singing tomorrows.”
—Gabriel Péri, French Communist leader. Letter, July 1942, written shortly before his execution by the Germans. Quoted in New York Times (April 11, 1943)