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COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF COLONIAL RESISTANCE IN SEMBÈNE OUSMANE’S GOD’S BITS OF WOOD AND NGUGI WA THIONG’O’S WEEP NOT, CHILD

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  • Name: “COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF COLONIAL RESISTANCE IN SEMBÈNE OUSMANE’S GOD’S BITS OF WOOD AND NGUGI WA THIONG’O’S WEEP NOT, CHILD”
  • Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)
  • Size: [1.09 MB]
  • Length: [45] Pages

 

ABSTRACT

This research is designed to afford the understanding of the common cultural heritage between francophone and Anglophone postcolonial African literature. For the purpose of this research, Sembène Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not Child will serve as reference points for francophone and Anglophone literature respectively within the paradigm of postcolonial theory. Through a comparative analysis of the themes exploring colonial resistance in both novels, this research will analyze the socioeconomic contexts within which the novels were written and how they affect the narrative and the authors’ style
Keywords: colonial resistance, postcolonial, decolonization, postcolonial theory

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEDICATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………… iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ………………………………………………………………………………….. v
ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. vi
CHAPTER 1 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
1.1 General Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
1.2 Arrangement of Chapters ……………………………………………………………………………………. 3
1.3 Background to the Study ……………………………………………………………………………………… 4
1.4 Objectives of the Study ………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
1.5 Research Rationale ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
1.6 Scope and Limitations of Study …………………………………………………………………………….. 5
1.7 Theoretical Framework ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
1.8 Literature Review ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
CHAPTER 2 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.3 Revolutionary Zeal: The Railway Strike ………………………………………………………………. 14
2.4 Themes in God’s Bits of Wood ……………………………………………………………………………. 15
2.5 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
CHAPTER 3 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
3.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
3.2 Weep Not, Child, Ngugi wa Thiong’o: A Summary ………………………………………………… 19
3.3 Guerilla Aesthetics of the Mau Mau Revolution …………………………………………………….. 22
3.4 Themes and Symbols Explored in Weep Not, Child ……………………………………………….. 24
3.5 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25
CHAPTER 4 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
4.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
4.2 Between Sembene Ousmane and Ngugi wa Thiong’o ……………………………………………… 27
4.3 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 34
Works Cited ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

1.1 General Introduction

The later nineteenth century was a period of dramatic change in African history and the African condition in general. From the Berlin Conference of 1885 to the end of the Second World War, most of the African continent was formally under colonial rule; therefore, colonial historiography of Africa took precedence (Ogot 71). Based on this colonial historiography, Africa is a continent without history; therefore, the African people were without history as well. Colonial and imperialist narratives of African history painted the picture of Africa as ‘the dark continent’ with a literary example being Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Vogel 98). This led to remarkable and noteworthy historical processes, movements and efforts within the continent being interpreted by imperial standards.
Based on the notion of social Darwinism and a long-standing history of imperialism, Western European colonialists saw Africa as the next best choice for colonial expansion following the unification of Italy and Germany in the late nineteenth century which left no room for imperial domination in Europe (Mills 2). They were also of the belief that their wealth and power gave them the right to claim foreign lands. What could possibly be understood as cultural imperialism led to the assumption that colonized people were better off with European economic systems and technology and that Europeans were racially superior. Amidst all this, indigenous African populations lost their lands and independence, saw the replacement of their traditional economies by capitalist systems which resulted in a loss of their trade networks and had their cultures and traditions severely repressed while being treated as inferior, as depicted in the poem “White Man’s Burden” by Rudyard Kipling.
For these reasons, African history became the history of Europeans in Africa, by justifying their presence on the continent as ‘civilization mission’ that will eventually lead
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Africa to the path of history (Robinson and Gallagher 28 ). Colonialism, however, severely distorted the dynamics of the continent in the sense of its relation to other cultures and its interaction with the rest of the world. It should be noted that prior to the Berlin Conference there was European presence on the African continent, although it was largely limited to the coastal areas (Boahen 12). Eventually, the European presence on the African continent grew to the extent that all African countries with the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia were under colonial rule.
The reaction of indigenous African populations to such colonial subjugation has often been de-emphasized as a result of the connection between the condition of Africa’s historiography and its colonial history. It stands to reason that, historically, colonial resistance across the continent would often be misconstrued as almost nonexistent mostly because the first wave of such efforts was overall unsuccessful (Ogot 78). Basically, resistance was difficult to attempt following colonization because of the refusal of the Europeans to respect existing hierarchy and social systems in some places and their refusal engage in diplomacy with African rulers. Also, the technological gap and Europe’s track record of colonial conquests made them formidable opponents. However, the indigenous African populations remained resilient (Msellemu 149).
Throughout the period of legitimate colonial rule and political dominance of Africa by Europe, there remained a constant resistance whose nature was severely influenced by the complexities and intricacies of the power and political relationships between Africans and the colonialists. African nations continued to wage various forms of resistance – armed and against the establishment and persistence of colonial rule – up until the end of the First World War when European power weakened in the wake of rising African nationalism which led to significant changes in the nature of resistance movements against colonial rule (Bankie and Mchombu, 30). The Ashanti battles against British invaders in the late 19th century and the
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Libyan battles against Italian invaders were symbolic towards resisting colonial rule. Following the formal establishment of colonies, the indigenous African populations remained relentless in their efforts towards resisting colonial administration. The Maji Maji Uprising of 1905 which took place in south eastern Tanganyika – modern day Tanzania – saw the cooperation of local in fighting and resisting colonialism along with the Nandi Uprising and Samouri Toure Mandinka revolt around modern-day French West Africa (Ross 91).
The end of the First World War came with huge implications for the global political landscape. First, the League of Nations mandate led to the loss of colonies, e.g. Germany lost Tanganyika, which is present-day Tanzania and Namibia etc. Second, the cost of war and its vestiges made colonies difficult to maintain in the sense that it resulted in inflation and the collapse of global capitalist structures: these two factors and the subsequent rise of African nationalism being the third factor largely contributed globally to the changing perspective on colonialism in general (Bankie and Mchombu 33). By the same time, the Negritude movement was gaining momentum in France and the Caribbean with its foremost proponents such as Leopold Sedar Senghor, Leon Damas, Aime Cesaire, Franz Fanon, Alioune Diop etc. This movement notably shaped the nature and quality of literature that would later emerge on the continent (Diagne). The Second World War came with the greater implications for colonies and their colonizers, as most of their home countries were no longer the world powers. During this time, African colonies became largely disillusioned and revamped their anti-colonial struggles. However, anticolonial struggles at this time were laced with nationalist sentiments similar to the feeling that triggers the resistance and revolution in Senegalese-based God’s Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane and Kenyan-based Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

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