Language and Culture in African Postcolonial Literature

Kwaku Asante-Darko, University of Lesotho

This abstract from the CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture appears with the kind permission of Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek. Copyright remains of course with the author and CLCWeb

In his article, "Language and Culture in African Postcolonial Literature," Kwaku Asante-Darko offers both conceptual basis and empirical evidence in support of the fact that critical issues concerning protest, authenticity, and hybridity in African post-colonial literature have often been heavily laden with nationalist and leftist ideological encumbrances, which tended to advocate the rejection of Western standards of aesthetics. One of the literary ramifications of nationalist/anti-colonial mobilization was a racially based aesthetics which saw even the new product of literary hybridity born of cultural exchange as a mark of Western imposition and servile imitation by Africa in their literary endeavour. Asante-Darko exposes the hollowness of the hostile racial militancy of the works of Frantz Fanon and Ngugi by assessing their salient arguments from the point of view of the themes, the methodology, the language choice, and the stratagem of African literary discourse. He explains that all these aspects contain a duality born of the reconcilability of African literary aspirations on one-hand, and Western standards on the other. Last, Asante-Darko demonstrates that the African literary and cultural past cannot be reconstituted but only reclaimed and that the linguistic, thematic, and aesthetic hybridity this presupposes must be embraced to give African literature the freedom it needs to contribute its full quota to the universality of literature.

Full text of this article.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Bibliography

Last modified: 14 May 2000