African-language Literature and Postcolonial Criticism [chapter]

Karin Barber
1999 Imagined Commonwealths  
Critics have often discussed African novels on postcolonialism as subversive and counterdiscursive to European representations of Africa with limited attention paid on the layers of inscriptions relating to pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial Africa embedded in these texts. This study uses the metaphor of the palimpsest to explore the layers of writings ranging from the pre-colonial culture, the colonial textual depictions of Africa and the postcolonial response and re-portrayal of Africa
more » ... ortrayal of Africa within selected African novels. It argues that these novels encourage Africa to reflect on its pre-colonial and colonial past with the intention of learning from its mistakes, the positive aspects of its culture and the colonial experiences, and forging a future based on hindsight rather than continually blaming colonialism for its development maladies. To achieve this, palimpsest in this paper becomes a self-reflective metaphor for understanding the effects of colonialism, the complicities of Africa in the colonial enterprise and the need to forge a future that transcends the colonial experiences. While the palimpsest provides a means of understanding the past, the 'metaphors of transformation' by Hall provides the impetus for progress.
doi:10.1007/978-1-349-27060-6_8 fatcat:jqywqfvxvbbtlaqebl6usx3jym