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
In the African context, there exists the ‘myth’ that orality means tradition. Written and oral verbal art are often regarded as dichotomies, one excluding the other. While orature is confused with ‘tradition’, literature is ascribed to modernity. Furthermore, local languages are ignored and literature is equated with writing in foreign languages. The contributions in this volume take issue with such preconceptions and explore the multiple ways in which literary and oral forms interrelate and subvert each other, giving birth to new forms of artistic expression. They emphasize the local agency of the African poet and writer, which resists the global commodification of literature through the international bestseller lists of the cultural industry. The first section traces the movement from oral to written texts, which in many cases coincides with a switch from African to European languages. But as the essays in the section on “New Literary Languages” make clear, in other cases a true philological work is accomplished in the African language to create a new written and literary medium. Through the mixing of languages in the cities, such as the
Sheng spoken in Kenya or the bilinguality of a writer such as Cheik Aliou Ndao (Senegal), new idioms for literary expressions evolve. The use of new media, technology or music stimulate the emergence of new genres, such as
Taarab in East Africa, radio poetry in Yoruba and Hausa, or Rap in the Senegal, as is shown in the section on “Forms of New Orality.”
It is a great achievement of this second volume of
Versions and Subversions in African Literatures that it assembles contributions by scholars from the anglophone and the francophone world and that it covers literary production in a broad spectrum of languages: English, French, Hausa, Sheng, Sotho, Spanish, Swahili, Wolof and Yoruba.
Some of the authors and cultural practitioners treated in detail are: Mobolaij Adenubi, Birago Diop, Boubacar Boris Diop, David Maillu, Thomas Mofolo, Cheik Aliou Ndao, Donato Ndongo–Bidyogo, Hubert Ogunde, Shaaban Robert, Wole Soyinka, Ibrahim YaroYahaya, and Sénouvo Agbota Zinsou.
Some of the essays in this book - notably those concerned with examining Western influences on sub-Saharan African writings (tracing Shakespearean and Brechtian echoes in Nigerian drama, for instance, or following the footprints of Sherlock Holmes in Swahili detective fiction) - fit the traditional definition of comparative literature. These are essays that cross national literary boundaries and sometimes transcend language barriers as well. They look for correspondences in related literary phenomena from widely dispersed areas of the globe, bringing together what is akin from what is akimbo. But most of the essays included here involve closer comparisons. Two focus on works produced in different languages within the same African nation (Yoruba and English in Nigeria, Afrikaans and English in South Africa), and one presents a taxonomy of dominant literary forms in English in three East African nations. Others concentrate on the oeuvre of a single author, and on the likely future output of exiled writers who soon will be returning home. One essay contrasts discursive tendencies within the same text, and another investigates conflicting African and Western religious beliefs. A great variety of comparative methodologies is deployed here; not all of these are transnational, multilingual or pluralistic in scope. The last two groups of essays deal with matters of characterization and authorial reputation. Studies of the depiction of African Americans, politicians and women in a wide range of African literary texts are followed by an assessment of the current standing of anglophone Africa's leading authors. In entering such highly contested terrain, the comparatist approach adopted has been that of the neutral witness to early African attempts - comparatist in their own way - to define an African canon of classic texts.
Authors discussed include: Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana); Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Cyprian Ekwensi, D.O. Fagunwa, Wole Soyinka and Amos Tutuola (Nigeria); Peter Abrahams, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Alex La Guma, Thomas Mofolo, Es'kia Mphahlele and Karel Schoeman (South Africa).
Besides searching book reviews, an interview with the writer Tijan M. Sallah, a full report on the 6th Ethiopian International Film Festival, and a stimulating selection of creative writing (including a showcase of recent South African poetry), this issue of Matatu offers general essays on African women’s poetry, anglophone Cameroonian literature, and Zimbabwean fiction of the Gukurahundi period, along with studies of J.M. Coetzee, Kalpana Lalji, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Aminata Sow Fall, Wole Soyinka, and Yvonne Vera.
The bulk of this issue, however, is given over to coverage of cultural and sociological topics from North Africa to the Cape, ranging from cultural identity in contemporary North Africa, two contributions on Kenyan naming ceremonies and initiation songs, and three studies of the function of Shona and Ndebele proverbs, to national history in Zimbabwean autobiography, traditional mourning dress of the Akans of Ghana, and the precolonial origins of traditional leadership in South Africa. Contributors: Jude Aigbe Agho, Nasima Ali, Uchenna Bethrand Anih, Aboneh Ashagrie, Francis T. Cheo, Gordon Collier, Abdel Karim Daragmeh, Geoffrey V. Davis, Nozizwe Dhlamini, Kola Eke, Phyllis Forster, Frances Hardie, James Hlongwana, Pede Hollist, John M. Kobia, Samuelson Freddie Khunou, Mea Lashbrooke, María J. López, Brian Macaskill, Evans Mandova, Richard Sgadreck Maposa, Michael Mazuru, Corwin L. Mhlahlo. Zanoxolo Mnqobi Mkhize, Kobus Moolman, Thamsanqa Moyo, Felix M. Muchomba, Collins Kenga Mumbo, Tabitha Wanja Mwangi, Bhekezakhe Ncube, Christopher Joseph Odhiambo, Ode S. Ogede, H. Oby Okolocha, Wumi Raji, Dosia Reichhardt, Rashi Rohatgi, Kamal Salhi, Ekremah Shehab, Faith Sibanda, John A Stotesbury, Nick Mdika Tembo, Kenneth Usongo, Wellington Wasosa.
This wide-ranging collection deals with the dynamics of current developments in literature, language, and culture in Kenya and Tanzania. It testifies to a spirited exchange of ideas between writers and academics and promotes transdisciplinary dialogue among several academic fields – anglophone and Swahili studies, literary studies and linguistics, East African and German academic discourse, Kenyan and Tanzanian perspectives. The contributions create a ‘contact zone’ of their own that will generate productive impulses for transdisciplinary research and allow readers to gain new insights into trajectories of Swahili and anglophone writing in East Africa.
Topics covered include literary language choice and translation, popular fiction and codeswitching, Swahili hip-hop texts, HIV/AIDS discourse, the advance of ‘Sheng’ and ‘Engsh’ in literary-linguistic space, contemporary women’s literature in Kenya, and special studies of Abdulrazak Gurnah and David G. Maillu.
MIKHAIL D. GROMOV • ABDULRAZAK GURNAH • SISSY HELFF • LILLIAN KAVITI • EUPHRASE KEZILAHABI • SAID A.M. KHAMIS • ALDIN K. MUTEMBEI • YVONNE ADHIAMBO OWUOR • UTA REUSTER–JAHN • ALINA N. RINKANYA • GABRIEL RUHUMBIKA • CLARISSA VIERKE • KYALLO WADI WAMITILA
This book is a collection of papers from an international inter-disciplinary conference focusing on storytelling and human life. The chapters in this volume provide unique accounts of how stories shape the narratives and discourses of people’s lives and work; and those of their families and broader social networks. From making sense of history; to documenting biographies and current pedagogical approaches; to exploring current and emerging spatial and media trends; this book explores the possibilities of narrative approaches as a theoretical scaffold across numerous disciplines and in diverse contexts. Central to all the chapters is the idea of stories being a creative and reflexive means to make sense of people’s past, current realities and future possibilities.
Contributors are Prue Bramwell-Davis, Brendon Briggs, Laurinda Brown, Rachel Chung, Elizabeth Cummings, Szymon Czerkawski, Denise Dantas, Joanna Davidson, Nina Dvorko, Sarah Eagle, Theresa Edlmann, Gavin Fairbairn, Keven Fletcher, Sarah Garvey, Phyllis Hastings, Tracy Ann Hayes, Welby Ings, Stephanie Jacobs, Dean Jobb, Caroline M. Kisiel, Maria-Dolores Lozano, Mădălina Moraru, Michael R. Ogden, Nancy Peled, Valerie Perry, Melissa Lee Price, Rasa Račiūnaitė-Paužuolienė, Irena Ragaišienė, Remko Smid, Paulette Stevens, Cheryl Svensson, Mary O’Brien Tyrrell, Shunichi Ueno, Leona Ungerer, Sarah White, Wai-ling Wong and Bridget Anthonia Makwemoisa Yakubu.
Fictions written between 1939 and 2005 by indigenous and white (post)colonial women writers emerging from an African–European cultural experience form the focus of this study. Their voyages into the European diasporic space in Africa are important for conveying how African women’s literature is situated in relation to colonialism. Notwithstanding the centrality of African literature in the new postcolonial literatures in English, the accomplishments of the indigenous writer Grace Ogot have been eclipsed by the critical attention given to her male counterparts, while Elspeth Huxley, Barbara Kimenye, and Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye, who are of Western cultural provenance but adopt an African perspective, are not accommodated by the genre of ‘expatriate literature’. The present study of both indigenous and white (post)colonial women’s narratives that are common to both categories fills this gap. Focused on the representation of gender, identity, culture, and the ‘Other’, the texts selected are set in Kenya and Uganda, and a main concern is with the extent to which they are influenced by setting and intercultural influences. The ‘African’ woman’s creation of textuality is at once the expression of female individualities and a transgression of boundaries. The particular category of fiction for children as written by Kimenye and Macgoye reveals the configuration of a voice and identity for the female ‘Other’ and writer which enables a subversive renegotiation of identity in the face of patriarchal traditions.
Writers of Indian origin seldom appear in the South African literary landscape, although the participation of Indian South Africans in the anti-apartheid struggle was anything but insignificant. The collective experiences of violence and the plea for reconciliation that punctuate the rhythms of post-apartheid South Africa delineate a national script in which ethnic, class, and gender affiliations coalesce and patterns of connectedness between diverse communities are forged.
Relations and Networks in South African Indian Writing brings the experience of South African Indians to the fore, demonstrating how their search for identity is an integral part of the national scene’s project of connectedness. By exploring how ‘Indianness’ is articulated in the South African national script through the works of contemporary South African Indian writers, such as Aziz Hassim, Ahmed Essop, Farida Karodia, Achmat Dangor, Shamim Sarif, Ronnie Govender, Rubendra Govender, Neelan Govender, Tholsi Mudly, Ashwin Singh, and Imraan Coovadia, along with the prison memoirists Dr Goonam and Fatima Meer, the book offers a theoretical model of South–South subjectivities that is deeply rooted in the Indian Ocean world and its cosmopolitanisms.
Relations and Networks demonstrates convincingly the permeability of identity that is the marker of the Indian Ocean space, a space defined by ‘relations and networks’ established within and beyond ethnic, class, and gender categories.
Isabel Alonso–Breto, M.J. Daymond, Felicity Hand, Salvador Faura, Farhad Khoyratty, Esther Pujolràs–Noguer, J. Coplen Rose, Modhumita Roy, Lindy Stiebel, Juan Miguel Zarandona