The essays in this volume capture the exciting energy of the emergent novel in East and West Africa, drawing on diffe¬rent theoretical insights to offer fresh and engaging perspectives on what has been variously termed the ‘new wave’, ‘emer¬gent generation’, and ‘third generation’. Subjects addressed include the politics of identity, especially when (re)constructed outside the homeland or when African indigenous values are eroded by globaliz¬ation, transnationalism, and the exilic condition or the self undergoes fragmen¬tation. Other essays examine once-taboo concerns, including gendered accounts of same-sex sexualities.
Most of the essays deal with shifting perceptions by African women of their social condition in patriarchy in relation to such issues as polygamy, adultery, male domination, and the woman’s quest for fulfilment and respect through access to quality education and full economic and socio-political participation. Themes taken up by other novels examined in¬clude the sexual exploitation of women and criminality generally and the ex¬posure of children to violence. Likewise examined is the contemporary textual¬izing of orality (the trickster figure).
Writers discussed include Chima¬manda Ngozi Adichie, Okey Ndibe, Helon Habila, Ike Oguine, Chris Abani, Tanure Ojaide, Maik Nwosu, Unoma Azuah, Jude Dibia, Lola Shoneyin, Mary Karooro Okurut, Violet Barungi, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Abidemi Sanusi, Akachi Ezeigbo, Sefi Atta, Kaine Agary, Kojo Laing, Ahmadou Kourouma, Uwen Akpan, and Alobwed’Epie
The writer's imaginative craft is usually inspired and shaped by the environment s/he hails from. This in turn gives room for constant communication between the creative mind and the immediate physical social world; the environment becomes a determinant of the writer's experiences. The influence of the Urhobo oral tradition on the poetic corpus of Tanure Ojaide is remarkable. The poet's cultural background occupies a looming space in his choices of generic style. Close examination of Ojaide's poetry reveals the exploration and appropriation of the orature of the Urhobo people, which ranges from myth, folksongs, proverbs, riddles, indigenous rhythms to folktales. Ojaide deploys orature to criticize contemporary ills as well as to locate solutions for Nigeria's socio-economic problems. The aim of this essay is essentially to demonstrate that orality accounts for the distinctiveness of Ojaide's writing. Also interrogate is the mingling of the oral and written in Ojaide's art. This approach will, it is hoped, open up what has been a restricted economy, through the inscribing of orature as a cardinal and integral constituent of the poet's art.
Although a number of studies of the African bildungsroman exist, they hardly explore the utility of journeying in the development of the protagonist. Some of these studies continue to reiterate the existence of the postcolonial African bildungsroman and its structure or how postcolonial writers have subverted this genre to narrativize the African experience of growth. However, the crucial role of travel in the African bildungsroman remains to be discussed comprehensively. It is my intention, therefore, to address this oversight and begin to fill the gap. My central contention is that travel is an essential catalyst in the process of personal growth. Chimamada Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus will function as my primary text for analysis, but I also make reference to other narratives as ancillary texts in order to accentuate the functionality of journey, its metaphoric implications, and its structural application to Purple Hibiscus as a postcolonial African bildungsroman. In order to understand how mobility facilitates the construction of consciousness in Purple Hibiscus, I situate Kambili’s personal growth around a kind of mobility which resides within the usual-everyday kind of journey, which is by no means mythic, to articulate a template that foregrounds Kambili’s struggle for individuation—familial confinement, separation-cum-isolation, initiation, and return.