Abstract


GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 1, Issue 1, May, 2015

African Authors and the Postcolonial Present

Author: Gagiano Annie

Category: Research

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Abstract:

This essay addresses a number of prevalent expectations and notions concerning the nature of postcolonial African writing, arguing, that, in addressing the postcolonial present, the trend in African fiction is to depict indigenous rulership and the effects power abuses as well as internecine conflicts, violence or social breakdown have on the lives of the contemporary

populations of these territories. While effects of colonialism do linger and neo-colonialism is an issue, concentration is on the agency of Africans to contest as well as complicate the reductive portrayals of African victimisation. The essay argues in addition for readers and theorists to pay attention also to newer texts – among which those by younger female writers are often of particular interest – and not to accord the status of authenticity primarily to older,

established texts and works with tribal and rural settings. The postcolonial present in Africa comprises the continent’s own forms of modernity and technological sophistication, along with the still widespread conditions of war, civil war, social anarchy, and widespread violence on the lives of individuals and families.

Against the background of the infamous and culturally divisive parcelling out of

African territories to and by European powers at the 1884-5 Berlin conference, the African writers contribute to the reinvention of nationhood for their African societies. Subthemes analysing workings and abuses of power, the causes and the consequences of violent enmity,suppressed histories, the horrific exploitation of children and the acute issue of gender abuse are in most cases related to the nature of nationhood within the particular society. The essay argues that the social and political topics are addressed by African authors in

powerfully affective language; the moving portrayals of individuals within their complex, entangled relationships give voice to African experience, hence the body of postcolonial African writing contributes to social, intellectual and aesthetic capital deserving greater recognition.

Keywords: The African image; the postcolonial present; affiliative critique; implicit analysis;agency; nationhood

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