Through an examination of some contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa, I wish to extend our understanding of speakers’ acquisition of non-heritage languages. I call into question the literacy-based lens through which language acquisition has typically been approached both in the literature on newspeakerism and, more generally, in the scholarship on migration and language. This tradition has overly represented migration as South-to-North mobility. It has framed language acquisition and performance from the perspective of language normativity. However, in the sub-Saharan African context, where the acquisition of African indigenous languages (be they heritage or not) is normally naturalistic (unlike that of former colonial languages), linguistic norms are approached quite differently, raising the issue of who qualifies as a legitimate speaker of a language.