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Africanizing Antigone : Postcolonial Discourse and Strategies of Indigenizing a Western Classic

From: Research in African Literatures
Volume 36, Number 4, Winter 2005
pp. 135-154 | 10.1353/ral.2005.0174


This essay represents essentially a comparative investigation of Athol Fugard's The Island and Femi Osofisan's Tegonni, an African Antigone, two African adaptations of Sophocles's Antigone. In the course of exploring the two texts however, I have found myself delving into some salient debates in postcolonial theory. While Karin Barber's "African Language Literatures and Postcolonial Criticism," an essay in which the Birmingham-based scholar argues that postcolonial criticism, much like Commonwealth criticism before it, has continued to repress and marginalize works in African language literatures, this essay pushes that argument further by suggesting that even for literatures of English language expression, the discursive practice of postcolonialism perpetrates an intense politics of selection and exclusion, re-circulating only those texts which that into its pre-set paradigm. The essay proceeds from a discussion of these issues into a detailed consideration of the two texts.

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