Igbo village life is nostalgically evoked in Nkem Nwankwo's first novel, Danda (1964), in which the trickster-like title character evades the grasp of Western educational, economic, and religious forces. Danda not only acts irreverently toward ascendant Western cultural influences, but, in keeping with the equivocal nature of the trickster figure, he also trangresses some of the traditional sanctities of the rural West African village he loves. The resources of African oral culture, including the disruptive tendencies of the folk trickster figure, are thus deployed by Nwankwo to depict certain enduring social and political dilemmas without resolving them. While one is engaged and moved by Danda's portrait of an Igbo village, one also finds that few desirable prospects are available to its inhabitants in the wake of colonizing process, for tradition is irrevocably altered and modernity disrupts the communal bonds that gave the village its vitality, integrity, and beauty.


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pp. 1-20
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