Between the Subversive Pen and the Blasphemous Microphone

A Comparative Study of Calixthe Beyala’s Amours sauvages and Saint Janet’s Faaji Plus

in Matatu
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Iconoclasm is a term that has been used to characterize any subversive, transgressive, and blasphemous adventure. There is abundant evidence that the African female creative impulse is geared towards subverting the existing social order as dominated and controlled by men. The two African female artists whose works are analysed in this study employ vivid sexual imagery to challenge the hegemony of male-oriented discourse. This essay examines the iconoclastic tendencies to be found in the Cameroonian Calixthe Beyala’s Amours sauvages and the Nigerian Saint Janet’s Faaji Plus. It concludes that although the two writers belong to different linguistic and geographical regions, and indeed to different generations, their works provide clear evidence of subversive art and depict a radical reaction to phallocentric norms and values in the African context.


Journal for African Culture and Society




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Diabate, “Genital Power,” 32.


Margret Chiapara & Gibson Ncube, “Sexuality and Madness,” 1.


Tass Keigna & Noemie Grataloup, “Calixthe Beyala livre sa vision sur L’ Afrique d’ aujourd’ hui,” Ekodafrik (19 July 2003), (accessed 10 December 2014).


Tunde Fatunde, “Calixthe Beyala Rebels Against Female Oppression,” 75.


Rosemarie Tong, Feminist Thought, 95.


Tong, Feminist Thought, 126.


Awa Thiam, La Parole aux négresses (Paris: Denoël–Gauthier, 1978): 17.


Calixte Beyala, Amours sauvages (Paris: Albin Michel, 1999): 8. Further page references are in the main text.


Margret Chiapara & Gibson Ncube, “Sexuality and Madness,” 2.


Nonye Ben-Nwakwo, “I’ll Never Stop Singing Vulgar Lyrics,” The Punch Newspaper (23 March 2013), (accessed 10 December 2014).


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