The term 'recent' or 'new' covers novels and some short fiction published between 1980 and 1995, a period characterized by growing pessimism about the state of affairs in both East and West Africa. The section on South Africa deals more narrowly with the 1985-95 watershed marking the end of official apartheid and the beginning of reconstruction. The three sections aim at giving a coherent picture of the main directions in production, highlighting three main centres of interest, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Republic of South Africa, although some novelists from neighbouring countries are also considered (such as Kofi Awoonor from Ghana, Nuruddin Farah from Somalia, and M.G. Vassanji and Abdulrazak Gurnah from Tanzania).
The evaluations conducted in the three sections lead to the emergence of a number of common themes, in particular the writers' predilection for topicality, the role of the past, and the controversy over the idea of the nation. Central themes also include the role of women in fending for themselves, both in rural and in urban environments. A further major theme is the role of the past (the Nigerian civil war; the Mau Mau period in Kenya; the revisiting of slavery; the refurbishing of myth; the questioning of historical reconstructions). The preoccupation of the West, East, and South African novel with the idea and ideal of the 'nation' is explored, particularly in the context of migrancy, hybridity, and transculturalism characterizing the anglophone diaspora.
The volume is aimed at literary scholars and students and, more generally, readers of fiction seeking an introduction to contemporary literary developments in various parts of sub-Saharan anglophone Africa. No categorical distinction is drawn between 'popular' and 'high' literature. Though still selective and not intended as an exhaustive catalogue, the present survey covers a large number of titles. Rather than resorting to broad and ultimately somewhat abstract thematic categories, the contributors endeavour to keep control over this mass of material by applying a 'micro-thematic' taxonomy. This approach, well-tested in the tradition of literary studies within France, groups works analytically and evaluatively in terms of such categories as actional motifs, plot-frames, and sociologically relevant locations or topics, thereby enabling a clearer focus on the dynamics of preoccupation and tendency that form networks of affinity across the fiction produced in the period surveyed.
against the British in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army during the years of the war of independence, in the so-called MauMau Uprising. The author points out that “Kimathi was born the same year, on 31 October, which meant he shared a birthday with his father’s struggle hero, MauMau leader Dedan Kimathi
from South Africa, who wanted the abolition of pass laws and the contract system, as well as independence for South West Africa. Through them, and by listening to the “Voice of Africa” broadcasts from Ghana or Egypt, he learnt of the struggle for liberation in Algeria and the “Mau-Mau movement” in
Movement ( LSM ) based in Canada and the United States of America initially stimulated and encouraged such literature. The LSM had a long tradition of recording and publishing life histories of members of liberation movements, such as the Kenyan MauMau, the Angolan MPLA , the Zimbabwean ZAPU and the