Research in African Literatures

Research in African Literatures
Volume 36, Number 1, Spring 2005

CONTENTS

Articles

    Christensen, Matthew J.
  • Cannibals in the Postcolony: Sierra Leone's Intersecting Hegemonies in Charlie Haffner's Slave Revolt Drama Amistad Kata-Kata
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    Subject Headings:
    • Haffner, Charlie. Amistad kata-kata.
    • Abraham, Arthur, 1945- Amistad revolt: an historical legacy of Sierra Leone and the United States.
    • Sierra Leonean heroes: fifty great men and women who helped to build our nation.
    • Amistad (Schooner)
    • Slave insurrections in literature.
    Abstract:
      Through an examination of publications by Sierra Leone's president, the United States Information Service, and Sierra Leonean playwright Charlie Haffner, this article explores how the narrative of the 1839 Amistad slave revolt emerged in the late 1980s as a key modality through which meanings of Sierra Leonean nationalism and claims to state power were contested.The article argues that in its dialogic engagement with the two governmental texts, Haffner's play Amistad Kata-Kata transforms the fear of cannibalism that sparked the slave rebellion into a politically charged trope whereby it couples cannibalism as a name for the excesses carried out by local authorities with cannibalism as a description of the dehumanizing consumption of enslaved African labor within the Atlantic slave system. The trope thus forms a key for translating the slave revolt into a discrediting, disrupting critique of the complex interrelationships between global capitalism and excessive elite accumulation in the postcolony.
    Richards, Constance S.
  • Nationalism and the Development of Identity in Postcolonial Fiction: Zoë Wicomb and Michelle Cliff
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wicomb, Zoë. You can't get lost in Capetown.
    • Cliff, Michelle. No telephone to heaven.
    • Nationalism in literature.
    • Identity (Psychology) in literature.
    Abstract:
      To many progressive activists in the 1960s, the writings of Frantz Fanon served not only as a source for intellectual development but also as guidebooks for revolutionary praxis. Fanon's critique of neocolonialism and cultural nationalism along with his call for direct political and militant engagement with the enemy as the basis of national culture in the process of decolonization is at the core of the following discussion. This essay locates Fanon's anticolonial view of cultural production as it has been represented in literary texts by African and diaspora women writers. Zoë Wicomb (South Africa) and Michelle Cliff (Jamaica) serve as examples of postcolonial writers who explore the potential of national consciousness as a necessary stage in the politicization of female characters struggling to decolonize their minds.
    Amoko, Apollo O.
  • The Resemblance of Colonial Mimicry: A Revisionary Reading of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ngugi wa Thiongo, 1938- River between.
    Abstract:
      My essay attempts a revisionary reading of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between. The first work by a leading African/postcolonial novelist, this novel has generally been read in terms of an "English aesthetic" that Ngugi would come explicitly and decisively to repudiate in his later writing, most notably Petals of Blood and Devil on the Cross. Along with Ngugi's second novel, Weep Not, Child, The River Between is thought to display a certain simplicity, if not naivete, in terms of its aesthetic ideology. My argument is that critics have overlooked the depth and complexity of Ngugi's early fiction. Ngugi's apparent embrace of "Englishness" in his earliest fiction is riddled with ambivalence, ambiguity, and slippage. Undoubtedly, The River Between and Weep Not, Child draw on aesthetic models from Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, and Thomas Hughes. But these texts are colonial mimics that critique even as they seem to imitate.
    Wenzel, Jennifer.
  • Voices of Spectral and Textual Ancestors: Reading Tiyo Soga alongside H. I. E. Dhlomo's The Girl Who Killed to Save
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    Subject Headings:
    • Dhlomo, H. I. E. (Herbert I. E.), 1903-1956. Girl who killed to save: Nongqause the liberator.
    • Soga, Tiyo, 1829-1871 -- In literature.
    Abstract:
      The Xhosa missionary Tiyo Soga appears, but does not speak, in H. I. E. Dhlomo's play about the 1856-57 Xhosa cattle killing, The Girl Who Killed to Save: Nongqause the Liberator. Archival evidence demonstrates that an unattributed song in the play is from a hymn by Tiyo Soga.While this nexus may not constitute evidence of the "genuine intertextuality" that Malvern van Wyk Smith seeks in postapartheid literary historiography, I argue that the (perhaps unwitting) presence of a hymn by Tiyo Soga contributes to the profound ambivalence of Dhlomo's play, which is also evident in Dhlomo's negotiation of colonial accounts of the cattle killing. For writers borrowing the voices of their predecessors, citing or ventriloquizing textual ancestors is as precarious and productive a process as is claiming to hear the voice of literal ancestors for prophets like Nongqawuse. What kind of reading practice can attend to such revenant voices?
    Githire, Njeri.
  • Horizons Adrift: Women in Exile, at Home, and Abroad in Gisèle Pineau's Works
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pineau, Gisèle -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Women in literature.
    Abstract:
      The quest for a place in which the self feels at home, comfortable, and secure pervades postcolonial literature, criticism, and theory. Likewise, the themes of location/dislocation, belonging/marginalization, alienation and identity—central to the problematic of home—have been among the major topics of critical inquiry and creative expression in contemporary literature. Contrapuntally entwined with these themes are the strategies of resistance and survival through which those dislocated invent a space of their own and alternative modes of identity. This article examines the processes and mechanisms through which displaced women "place" themselves at home, in exile and abroad, in Guadeloupean Gisèle Pineau's works. Indeed, with subtle interplay on the multi meanings of alienation, estrangement, and (dis)possession, Pineau explores the location of women in cultural, political, and social communities—primarily in France and in Guadeloupe—from a perspective informed by race, gender, nationhood. and history.
    Khamis, Said A. M.
  • Signs of New Features in the Swahili Novel
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    Subject Headings:
    • Swahili fiction -- History and criticism.
    Abstract:
      A quick glance at the development of the Swahili novel reveals that a number of Swahili novels written from the 1990s to date, have detached themselves in various ways from hitherto Swahili novels written following the mainstream realist mode. This "new" novel seems to "pervasively" adopt the fantastic, magical, and postmodernist tendencies that, according to the writer of this essay, adequately capture the cacophony and decay of the East African societies. The aim of this essay is not to trace the Swahili novel historically, but mainly to show it as "changing" conditioned by external or societal factors.

Commentary

Review Essay

    Durrant, Sam, 1970-
  • Resistance, Reason, and Justice
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    Subject Headings:
    • Davis, Geoffrey V., 1943- Voices of justice and reason: apartheid and beyond in South African literature.
    • Gready, Paul. Writing as resistance: life stories of imprisonment, exile and homecoming from apartheid South Africa.
    • Apartheid in literature.
    • Political prisoners -- South Africa -- Biography.

Books Reviews

    Arnoldi, Mary Jo.
  • Playing for Life: Performance in Africa in the Age of AIDS (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bourgault, Louise Manon. Playing for life: performance in Africa in the age of AIDS.
    • Performing arts -- Africa.
    Bean, Annemarie.
  • Black Theatre: Ritual Performance in the African Diaspora (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Harrison, Paul Carter, 1936-, ed. Black theatre: ritual performance in the African diaspora.
    • Walker, Victor Leo, II, ed.
    • Edwards, Gus, ed.
    • Blacks in the performing arts.
    Fuchs, Anne.
  • The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of The Pilgrim's Progress (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hofmeyr, Isabel. Portable Bunyan: a transnational history of The pilgrim's progress.
    • Bunyan, John, 1628-1688. Pilgrim's progress.
    Ojo-Ade, Femi.
  • Critical Essays on Bessie Head (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sample, Maxine J. Cornish, ed. Critical essays on Bessie Head.
    • Head, Bessie, 1937- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    Amoko, Apollo O.
  • Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism and Transnationalism (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Chrisman, Laura. Postcolonial contraventions: cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism.
    • Colonies.
    Praud, Julia.
  • Beyond Empire and Nation: Postnational Arguments in the Fiction of Nuruddin Farah and B. Kojo Laing (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ngaboh-Smart, Francis. Beyond empire and nation: postnational arguments in the fiction of Nuruddin Farah and B. Kojo Laing.
    • Farah, Nuruddin, 1945- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    Brower, Benjamin Claude.
  • Littérature et temps colonial: métamorphoses du regard sur la Méditerranée et l’Afrique (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Henry, Jean-Robert, ed. Littérature et temps colonial: métamorphoses du regard sur la Méditerranée et l’Afrique.
    • Martini, Lucienne, ed.
    • Colonies in literature -- Congresses.
    Hamilton, Russell G.
  • A History of Postcolonial Lusophone Africa (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Chabal, Patrick, 1951- History of postcolonial Lusophone Africa.
    • Birmingham, David.
    • Africa, Portuguese-speaking -- History -- 20th century.
    Livingston, Robert E.
  • Weary Sons of Conrad: White Fiction against the Grain of Africa's Dark Heart (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cooper, Brenda. Weary sons of Conrad: white fiction against the grain of Africa's dark heart.
    • English fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
    Nesbitt, Nick, 1969-
  • Ici-Là: Place and Displacement in Caribbean Writing in French (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gallagher, Mary, ed. Ici-là: place and displacement in Caribbean writing in French.
    • Caribbean literature (French) -- History and criticism -- Congresses.
    McLaren, Joseph.
  • Nationalism, Marxism, and African American Literature between the Wars: A New Pandora's Box (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Dawahare, Anthony, 1961- Nationalism, Marxism, and African American literature between the wars: a new Pandora's box.
    • American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism.
    Anyinefa, Koffi, 1959-
  • The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the Heart of Rwanda (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Tadjo, Véronique. Shadow of Imana: travels in the heart of Rwanda.
    • Wakerley, Véronique, tr.
    • Genocide -- Rwanda -- History -- 20th century.



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