a) Do you know any novels or poetry about black people in Brazil? Are the authors also black?
b) Have you ever read any works written by authors from African countries?
c) What themes do they explore (or might they explore) in their texts?
Let’s read A.
Let’s learn a little about African literature by reading this text.
The oral tradition is common to all African literatures, north and south. In the colonial period, Africans began to write in the languages of the colonizers. Between World War I and independence, it showed themes of liberation, independence and negritude. Postcolonial works often deal with conflicts between the past and the future and the difficulty of maintaining an African identity in the face of globalization. Some of the best known African writers of today are Chinua Achebe, Alan Paton and Wole Soyinka.
Wole Soyinka refuses to glamorize the past in his works. He was born in 1934 in western Nigeria. He studied first in Ibadan, then continued his studies at the University of Leeds. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire. For this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969. Soyinka has published about 20 works: drama, novels and poetry. He writes in English and his literary language is marked by great scope and richness of words. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, becoming the first African laureate.
Sources: ; . Both accessed on April 22, 2016. Edited, modified and enhanced by the authors.
1. Answer these questions in your notebook using the text above as a reference.
a) When did Africans start to write using other languages?
b) What were the most common themes after the independence of the colonies?