DELE BAMIDELE and SUNDAY VICTOR AKWU
With few exceptions, African countries have suffered perennial bad governance, bloody civil wars, and coups-d’état. The continent suffocates in the grip of political elites and military juntas. Capitalism as an economic system empowers a few who lord it over the weak majority. The ruling class also contributes to the suffering of the masses by flagrantly looting the nation’s treasury and flaunting it while the majority of the populace wallow in abject poverty. African writers problematize and diagnose this scenario and the Weltschmerz bedevilling African socio-political life, in a bid to offering lasting solutions, in the process experimenting with ‘home-made’ as well as ‘imported’ ideologies in the struggle for the African utopia. Vincent Egbuson, a ‘new-generation’ African writer, is indubitably a committed writer. In confronting the African socio-political malady in Womandela, he has adopted divergent ideologies to sharpen his social vision. The purpose of this study is, accordingly, to scrutinize the ideological bent of Egbuson’s novel and to determine its efficacy against the backdrop of the socio-political reality of contemporary Africa.
Mma Ramotswe, the heroine of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels and their adaptations, is proud of “being a traditionally built African lady unlike these terrible stick-like creatures one saw in the advertisements.” This crisis of the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’ erupts in the representation in the novels and television series of Mma Ramotswe’s sexuality and mothering, the texts’ failures to acknowledge or negotiate the inconsistencies of its deployment of the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’, and the resulting dilemma of (national) reproduction when sex is not an option. Further, neither text integrates its explicit celebration of ‘traditional values’ with the professional opportunities that ‘being modern’ affords Mma Ramotswe. Attempting to negotiate this disjunction, the texts divest Mma Ramotswe of any ‘modern’ sexual attitudes or actions – the ones that produce offspring – while still providing her with those fruits: children. Both written and visual representations systematically negate any possibility that Mma Ramotswe might participate in any reproductive activity of her own. A mother without children to children without mothers, Mma Ramotswe figures postcolonial reproduction as a sexless, passionless transaction, while both texts align any sex with the probability of pain, betrayal, and death.
Buchi Emecheta’s novel The Bride Price is examined for its overall literary strength, and particularly for its use of syncretism. Her work is compared with that of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, and it is concluded that both writers assist us in understanding today’s African diaspora. In addition, it is argued that several key passages in Bride Price are resonant for their extensive use of metonymy, and that Emecheta’s writing exhibits strong strands of the postcolonial, including the trope that the female body can be the site of multiple instantiations of hegemony and dominance.
Contemporary African fiction is a source of dystopian urban images juxtaposed with the kinds of ‘good cities’ to which the wielders of political or economic power subscribe. This article examines the dominant representations of the ‘good city’ and how they are contested or subverted from various narrative perspectives. It focuses on inscriptions of the city in fictional narratives and on inscriptions such as street signs and place names found in cities in order to explore the tensions and the contradictions in images of urban experience in Africa.
This essay focuses on the transformation of the experience of crossings and transnationalism in Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s In Dependence. Manyika’s novel is a story of crosscultural love. The two main characters, one male, black, and Nigerian; and the other female, white and British, first come across each other as students in Oxford. The relationship which consequently develops between them passes through phases of turbulence, spans a period of three decades and is acted out in three continents. In the end, the author’s point seems to be that humanities in general share dependent relationships with each other. Though of different racial origins, Manyika places her two major characters in the novel on equal pedestals. Both are of middle class backgrounds, excel in their studies, and later distinguish themselves in their chosen careers. My intention in this essay is to elaborate on the perspective of transnationalism and cross-cultural interconnectedness as articulated in the novel.
The audience is an essential component of theatre performance. While actors perform on stage, the audience often contribute to the actions and activities of the performance by clapping, singing, and dancing (rhythmically shaking the body) or wooing the performers, as the case may be, or in other ways. Beyond these levels of participation, the audience can be fully incorporated into theatre performances. They can be made to perform, almost like the actors and actresses, in the play. Therefore, using Femi Osofisan’s Once Upon Four Robbers, the study investigates how the audience can be incorporated into and be made active in theatre performance. Apart from using the script of the play, the study engages the performance of the play, which was directed by Toyin Ogundeji and staged at the Pit Theatre of Obafemi Awolowo University in 2007. The essay argues that the incorporation of the audience into the play and their participation in the actions of the theatre piece enabled them to critically decide how the play should end; whether the robbers should be openly vindicated or publicly executed, after they (the audience) had seen the socio-political and economic jeopardy of Nigeria which actually led the robbers to the acts of crime and robbery. The essay concludes that the incorporation of the audience into the play helped to facilitate a convivial interaction between spectators and actors.
A study of Marie NDiaye’s portrayal of difference, particularly in En famille, Rosie Carpe, Mon coeur à l’étroit, Trois femmes puissantes, and Ladivine. She creates characters who are aware they do not fit into normal social categories, often because of racial mixing, although this is seldom brought to the surface. Her characters are without much normal interaction with others and are sometimes capable of acts of great cruelty. To escape from their awareness of difference, they seek to metamorphose into animals.