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Abdelkader Nebbou The West African Novel: Achebe and Soyinka (1950- 1970)

Abdelkader Nebbou

The West African Novel: Achebe and Soyinka (1950- 1970)

Scholars’ Press

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ISBN: 978-620-2-30709-3 Copyright © Abdelkader Nebbou Copyright © International Book Market Service Ltd., me mber of omniScriptum Publis hing Group

All rights reserved. Beau Bassin 2018













CHAPTER ONE: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 6 1- Introduction 2- Definition of the concepts 7 a- Society 7 b- Culture 11 14 c- Hybridity 3- Literature and History 19 4- Colonial Education for Obliteration 23 30 a - Assimilation to Suppress African Cultures b - The European Policies of Orientalism and Africanism 32 c - Gender 35 5- The Effect of Colonial Education on Achebe and Soyinka as Children 36 6- Achebe’s and Soyinka’s Commitments 39 a - Achebe’s and Soyinka’s Views of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness 41 b - Achebe’s and Soyinka’s Attitudes to Negritude 43 46 7- Conclusion


CHAPTER TWO: ACHEBE AND SOYINKA AS POST-COLONIAL WRITERS 1- Introduction 2- Culture from the Western and the African Writers’ View 3- West African Post-Colonial Writers as compared to Afro-American Writers 4- The African Native Discourse versus the Western Discourse 5- Post-Colonial Writing as a Response to Colonisation 6- Post-Modernism and the Post-Colonial West African Writer 7- The Belief in the African Individual 8- Conclusion


CHAPTER THREE: ACHEBE’S A Man of the People 1- Introduction 2- Chapter Summary 3- Themes in A Man of the People a. - Cultural Revival b.- Ibo Culture Vs European Culture c. - Rate of Corruption in Nigeria through Nanga Vs Odili d.- Female Domination e. - Mismanagement 4- Political Implication of A of Man the People


47 48 56 61 64 66 71 82

84 85 93 94 96 99 105 114


5- The Coup in Nigeria as Reflected in Achebe’s Novel 6- Conclusion

119 123

V. CHAPTER FOUR: SOYINKA’S The Interpreters 1234-

Introduction Chapter Summary Main Characters in the Novel Different Themes in The Interpreters a - Corruption and the Youth Disillusionment b- The Yoruba Traditional Gods and Semi- gods c- The African Church and the Traditional Gods 5- Human Relations in Nigeria a - Gender (Male-female Relation) in The Interpreters b - Adolescent Treatment c - “Homosexuality” as a Cultural Invasion 6- Tribal / Regional Conflicts in Nigeria 7- Conclusion VI. CHAPTER FIVE: SYNTHESIS OF A Man of the People and The Interpreters 1- Introduction 2- Link between Achebe and Soyinka and their Difference with the Western Writer 3- The Language Used in The Interpreters and A Man of the People a - Use of Proverbs in the two Novels b - Evil and Good and the Use of Symbols in A Man of the People and The Interpreters c - Achebe and Soyinka Reference to Folk Tales and / or Stories from Real Life 4- Soyinka and Achebe as African Thinkers and Theorists a - Soyinka’s View b - Achebe’s Future Vision 5- Universality of The Interpreters and A Man of the People 6- Plot in The Interpreters and A Man of the People 7- Ethnicity in the Nation-Building 8- Conclusion

124 124 139 141 141 144 147 149 151 155 156 157 161 163 163 169 173 175 177 178 179 186 191 195 197 197





The novel is a form of a fictional prose narrative containing an infinite variety and different genres of social history, romance or fantasy. At the very beginning in the Tudor period the British novel started as any prose writing. It was based on translation from Hebrew, Greek, Latin and French (Burgess, 1989). In the Renaissance, Utopia that was the most imaginative work was originated from the Greek culture. Although novels are works that tell about real

(1726) which introduces the author as a man of talent and a master of English irony. Swift’s novel in which satirical traits were levelled at men in office and other personages made this successful work overwhelming. Not to mention the fantastic adventures in foreign countries in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) which endowed fictitious facts with a faithful record of an eye-witness (Buchan, 1989). However, according to critics, these works did not constitute the true novel in its modern sense. They were too much realistic, conditioned to their authors’ social environment, but the form (the fragmented items, non-chronological events, poetic forms) was of little significance. The true English novel came with Richardson and Fielding who knew how to penetrate into the inmost recesses of human heart. Their writing was with a description that was universally praised: Clarissa Harlowe (1748) and Tom Jones (1749) of the two respective writers. Novel writing prospered in the 19th century when blending the facts borrowed from history with the invention of the writer’s fertile mind, such as in the series of Walter Scott’s works: Guy Mannering (1815), The Antiquary (1816), The Fair Maid of Perth, and Quentin Durward.

The influence of Scott on the would-be prose writers was obvious not only in his being the pioneer of historical fiction, but in the impulse to historical studies he created. His kind of fiction was taken by other great writers like Thackeray and the French writer and poet Victor Hugo. Thanks to the British authors who contributed to the evolution of prose writing the modern novel with its infinite variety and different genres of social history became a public expression not only in Britain but in the whole world. Early in the 20th century the British colonial possessions spread around the world and the British Empire encompassed 20% of the land area of the Earth and 23% of its population. As a consequence to the British expansion, the novel, as an effective medium of expression, was opened up to all societies in the world over by the 1920s. The British novels were used by the British instructors to spread the Western thought that the other societies outside Europe in Asia and Africa were primitive and that they were too much far behind the civilized Europeans. At first a generation of writers in the African continent produced works that were appreciable to the oppressors. The novels of Tutuola and Obeng, both entertained the white audience and conformed with the European image of Africa. Another generation that followed including many famous West African novelists such as Ayi Kwei Armah, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Wole Soyinka and many others benefited from the experience of their predecessor world writers.

Achebe and Soyinka were like the Western novelists Richard Wright, John Steinbeck and others who were propagandists of the commons’ aspirations and their works were subordinated to class struggle. They devoted much of their writing for the masses in their societies, oscillating between commentary of social observation and imaginative works from apprehended experience. This novel was taken as a model by West African writers who learnt to use literature as a weapon to fight both the colonists’ remnants and the African rulers’ corruption in the time of independence.

comprehensive, picture of life in their societies through a plausible expression before and after independence. They saw that the end of the European rule in their countries by no

one; as the individuals’ culture represents an identity securing them a role to play in the world civilisation. The West African writers derived their details from their traditional societies referring to oral literature prior to colonisation as well as from experience among their people and a close observation of what was going on in their countries on the eve of independence and in the post independence period. The language used in the African novel showed the authors’ spiritual home and their sphere of action. The literary writing of the authors in Africa did not only acquire importance

particular played in the enrichment of the literature of other countries gave African writing an important position among the world literatures. The West African novel has not only crossed its linguistic frontier, but has been translated to many languages also; a fact that has granted it a world reputation. Many of the African authors are samples of the educated elite members who emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War mainly in British West Africa, notably in the enlightened coastal areas such as Southern Nigeria and the Gold Coast. This chapter is to cast light on the social and cultural backgrounds of West African literature, exploiting the idea

understanding of the West African genre of literature, it is very important to deal with the relation between the terms of society, culture, literature, history and politics, as well as to try to define such concepts as postcolonial literature, negritude, democracy, transgression, Orientalism and Africanism. It is, also, worth dealing with colonial education as well as the commitment of both Nigerian post-colonial writers, Achebe and Soyinka within the West African literary framework. 2. Definition of the Concepts

Many of the terms used in this work are subject to world debate because of the meaning they bear. The thoughts associated to such concepts as society, democracy, development or even art vary from one individual to another, and from one society to another. In literature the connotative meaning of these words stretches further than the lexical significance humans agreed on. They depend mostly on both the writers’ culture and experience in life and those of the writer’s audience as they can be used blindly due to coerciveness of certain hybrid ideologies. Therefore, it

not have been produced without the availability of a large audience’s growing taste. There were the mathematicians like Euclid and Pythagoras; also, the Greek enjoyed the poetry of Homer and the works of dramatists like Sophocles and Aristotle, beside sculpture (Burgess, 1989). When

progress. The rate of education widened and the number of writers increased. The reading public started to be interested in what really happened and questioned about the cause of the collapsed traditions and the underlying value system that had shaped American society for centuries. During the 1930s and 1940s the British Colonial Rule that had been interested in the metropolitan power, rather than having the intention to ensure welfare to the people belonging to the African societies, made necessary political reforms in Colonial British West Africa (CBWA). The reforms were part of the British belief of the African society as

equivalent to a social fabric far behind the Europeans. Research in British policy in CBWA revealed the universal controversy of whether African societies all alike were really primitive

that were different from those of the West. To inculcate the image of the Africans’ primitiveness, the African societies were usually described as being despotic, cruel and as people still at an earlier stage in the developmental process of the world social evolution (Hetherington, 1978).

to indicate the integration or mingling of cultural signs and practices from the colonizing and the colonized cultures.

was the disruption of the African traditional order. Destruction of this order did not only start with colonialism, but it could be traced back to many years before. The process of migration contributed to a larger extent to the darkness and obscurity of an African origin. Firstly the slaves who had been shipped to the Americas a long time before the colonial establishment in

societies. The old order was undermined and the social structures and ties were altered. Soyinka argues the Atlantic slave trade for its remaining a scandal in European humanism:

I have railed against the thesis that was the Jewish Holocaust that placed the first question mark on all claims of European humanism- from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment to the present-day multicultural

much alike at a distance that he could not tell who I might be. He was speedily reassured, and with a large,

white, rascally grin, and a glance at his charge, seemed to take me into partnership in his exalted trust… (Conrad, 1994)

Some of the African writers cocooned themselves in English, French, and Portuguese believing that they were producing `African literature', but what they have produced, despite any claims to the contrary, is not “African literature”. This literary product of hybridity can better be referred to as Afro-European since it represents a hybrid tradition, a minority tradition. The editors of the Pelican Guides to English literature included an important part of this literature as part of twentieth-century English literature (Ngugi,

alien and what was African in nature. The autobiographical, historical, and mythical dimensions of this genre of novel comprise a multifaceted reality in which individual stories derive their meaning from collective history.

how they could preserve their identity and adhere to it. According to Achebe, what the Western educated African natives should do, was not to overlook their traditions but to stick to them and bear them all the time in mind as in the case of Mr Nanga’s children who had to go to the village Anata once a year to renew their knowledge of their own culture and language; which served them as a kind of purification from Westernisation:

Much as I already liked and admired Mrs Nanga, I must confess I was inwardly pleased when she told me as I had my breakfast that she and the children were leaving for Anata three days. Apparently the Minister insisted that his children must be taken home to their

his country, is a firm believer in the absolute freedom of individuals and mankind at large (Sow, 2004). By relying on art as a revolutionary tool to awaken his slumbering compatriots from the European hypnosis, Soyinka resorted to the Yoruba metaphysics and rituals,

celebrate the Nigerian independence, gives the following characters: Demoke, Rola and Adenebi the opportunity to go surfing in history in order to repent of their past evils (Sow, 2004). The author deliberately referred to Nigeria’s past history a long time before the colonial period. The story took place at the time of the autocratic ruler, Mata Kharibu. The re-union of the Gods and the living spirits with the dead to witness the latter self-examination for the sake of their self-regeneration is a belief in the Yoruba mythology. This re- union stands for the day of judgement when all human beings seek relief of their crimes in the same way as the characters in the play of A Dance of the Forest do.

the West African colonies the British Government had to amend the education policy lest there would be insurrections. An Africanization policy of education in Nigeria, for example, was adopted. This gave the opportunity to the locals to write in their own languages, such as the Yoruba, the Ibo or even the Hausa in the north. The number of school manuals, books for translation and modern techniques increased (Ischei, 1976). There was an overseas scholarship scheme, too. Many of the educated locals who had embraced the European values were recruited as teachers to pass on to the natives the ideas of rejecting their own culture

and accepting the Western culture they had acquired. These began to reproduce the colonizers’ image of the “dark continent”. 6 The

literacy capacities in these areas. Awareness of wha was happening in other places let the locals question about their situation within the colonial rule. Having realized that the key to success under the colonial administration was Western education, and because the Ibos were far behind the Yoruba in this respect, they formed mutual benefit

colonial policy based on transgression, that does not benefit all individuals equally. The European transgressive policy that empowered colonists to exceed all bounds in the colonies was often oppressive and exploitative for the native individuals. It is obvious that rejection of others’ rights comes up against the human laws of inner repression as well as against the universal or western ethic. This fact engendered a kind of romantic nostalgia for the Africans’ good past days and their rituals existing before the colonial breach to African traditional societies under the guise of modernity. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness reveals Conrad’s limited vision of ambivalence towards imperialism: “They were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more” (Conrad, 1994). It wa


imperialism that supplied Conrad with the setting and subject- matter of his novels that could let him go beyond the balancing acts of liberal humanism. We find in Heart of Darkness a kind of ‘Africanism’, a process of knowing Africa that was similar to Orientalism, depicting a fake image of Africans and their primitiveness to legitimise the imperialistic mission. The portrait of Kurtz in Conrad’s novel is the product of all Europe as it represents the European culmination in Africa. Kurtz is a voice that corresponds to the forces of ‘evil’. He tries to accumulate fortune, ivory and gold by using all means. Kurtz’ attitudes of a greedy 6

The term Dark Continent refers to Africa by the colonial powers since the 19th century, to overrule any thought about Africa it is a continent endowed with different resources of wealth, cultures, languages, but it is instead a place of wars, diseases and mysteries compared to the rest of the world that was known to Europeans and under their control.

person who considers that all ivory, rivers and land are his possession show that he does not Kurtz is a competent man who is able enough to express himself and to manipulate the language in convincing the others. He is cruel, malicious and destructive; embodying the theory: slaves should love their master (Conrad, 1994). Darkness in Heart of Darkness indicates the humans’ failing to see one another, failure to understand other individuals and to establish any sort of sympathetic communion with them. The impetus behind Marlow adventures, as a European, has to do with the hypocrisy used to justify imperialism. Marlow’s description of the human condition in Africa reveals Conrad’s profound colonial implications. Black shapes crouched, lay sat between the trees leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth, half coming out, half effaced within the dim light, in all the attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair… they were dying slowly – it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now – nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying

As for Soyinka’s The Interpreters, it is more concerned with the processes of understanding than with the pleasures of artistic finish or narrative unity. The linguistic interpretation of the text leads the reader to the problem of reference of Ferdinand de Saussure’s non- linguistic reality,

usage of this term more problematic than it is necessary” (Deckeyser, 2006). There is the use of juxtaposition or fragmentation of philosophical ideas, psychoanalytic, historical and even structuralist thoughts. This way of active political and cultural examination of the traditional artworks and the role of the artist in his social surroundings has been known as Postmodernist.

with radically different ideologies. Despite the fact that his country is now free from colonial rule, Odili witnessed that exploitation of the general population continued but in a new form. Colonists have been replaced by local rulers, and the general population has no choice but to suffer and wait for a new government. Throughout the novel, Odili condemns this state of affairs; his disillusionment comes through by means of detaching himself from the commons’ perspective.

of hers along for the Minister. He tells Elsie about another Elsie he has met at a party. He looks glad to see her jealous. After a speech by the Minister at the opening of the first book exhibition by local authors, Odili and Nanga head for the hospital to bring the girls to Nanga’s house. The girl intended for Nanga is

hall they are met by Jalio, the President of the Writers’ Society that has done much to project the African personality. Nevertheless Jalio confesses that he represents only himself: “I dress to please myself.” He is said to be non-conformist and arrogant, i.e., he is ready to change his attitude according to each different situation. Odili is pleased to see Nanga rebuking Jalio for his conduct. Odili is also surprised when watching a man wearing robes made of European material, decorated with the advertisement: 100% wool: Made in England.

The Prime Minister, Nanga is thought to be the person holding no malice inside even when saying harsh things. At the end of his speech when he prophesies that Nigeria will soon have world-class authors like the British, he is applauded. Jalio and the editor of the Daily Matchet solicit money from the Minister, who shows no reluctance to give in. He knows that publishing some facts about his wrongs will end his political career. Therefore, he prefers

wife's room upstairs. Odili still does not understand the malice in Nanga’s mind because the latter’s story is that he has an all- night Cabinet meeting. Odili, then, reassures himself of spending the night alone with his girlfriend, Elsie. After a nice dinner with Elsie and Nanga, Odili retires to his room and so does Elsie, but nor does the Minister. It has taken him an hour to switch off the light in the sitting-room. Odili immediately goes upstairs on tip-toes to finally arrive at Elsie’s room, but to his luck of fortune he hears her

harlot that he should forget for good. In the morning when he meets Nanga outside his gate Odili collects his strength and addresses the man who has just become his enemy that he has won that time, but he has to wait to see who will have the last laugh. Nanga tells one of his boys not to mind the insults of Odili, who has already left the Minister’s house on his way to a lawyer named Cool Max. Max heads for the court, but Odili who still remembers his story with Nanga a night before remained alone. He feels the disgrace of a man whose girl- friend has been wrenched before his eyes without being able to do anything, just because her ravisher is a wealthy, illgotten and a powerful man in the society. He wonders of calling Elsie to see whether she is

other eight citizens, among whom a lady engaged to Max, meet for the purpose of founding the Common People Convention (CPC). Odili finds it too early to join the party, although he believes participation in politics seems to be the accurate opportunity to reach his enemy, Nanga. The members continue their discussion of matters as membership in CPC, financing, and the party future objectives.

independence phase. He represents the cult of elders performing important political functions in their African societies before the European intervention in their affairs. In the pre-colonial African society membership of the cult used to be opened to all adult men. Most men would join the lowest ranks,

condemned man’s group (Lioyd, 1975). This is nearly what happened to Odili at Nanga’s inaugural campaign meeting in the end of the novel. Odili was accused of trying to take Nanga’s seat and of being caught taking a girl to whom Nanga had already paid the full

bride-price which, according to the Ibo custom, made her Nanga’s wife. Accordingly, Odili deserved the punishment on the dais before the crowd supporting Chief Nanga. He pulled the microphone away smartly, set it down, walked up to me and slapped my face …immediately hands seized my arms, but I am happy that he got one fairly good kick from me. He slapped me again and again. Edna rushed forward



(Forsyth, 1977, p. 106) In 1967, the Igbo-dominated the Eastern Region of Nigeria, declaring its independence as the sovereign state of Biafra. In March Ojukwu announced that as of April 1 the government of the Eastern Region would take over all federal departments, taxes, and other revenues, essentially making the region independently administered. Gowon responded by blockading the coast and instituting economic sanctions against the east. Last-ditch efforts at a peaceful

to the colonial drainage of the people’s traditions and of the country’s wealth. Consequently, indigenous people lost faith in the men who were supposed to lead the country to welfare. The phase after independence witnessed rivalry between opportunists. These relied mostly on their kinsmen to remain in power; in return, the members of a tribe rely on who they know in their search for social or economic gain. All in all, A Man of the People is a work that can be considered as diagnosis by an African who is not only involved in his own country’s malaise but also in the cultural analysis of Africa’s relationship with Europe. This African native is Achebe.

described as realistic because it is about African social and political environments in both Nigeria as well as the whole continent. He portrays how the Igbo communal life was altered by the colonial presence. For Achebe, today’s leaders are just a British make; they represent

to welfare. The phase after independence witnessed rivalry between opportunists. These

thought that all the tribes crack, one by one, and surrender to the strangers, apart from few apostates. After the loss of his parents his guardians were not nice to him; they beat him when he did not listen to them. None can deny the enormous European effect on the African life that did not succeed in completely dissolving the customs of the people (Soyinka, 1970, p. 18). Europeans are impartial, but natives are backward. When Sekoni designs Ijioha power

The band leaves the club hall going home early in the morning. Sagoe and his girl friend, Dehinwa, drive together to the beach. Then Dehinwa drives furiously to her place when Sagoe who is drunk insists on accompanying her. As she opens the door, she finds her mother and her aunt Sisi inside. She thinks the houseboy has let them in. when Dehinwa asks

‘Gambari’. Dehinwa refuses that others interfere in her business, telling her mother not to make any more midnight journeys for fear of finding her with a man. The mother is astonished at her daughter’s argument, saying if such is the case she will curse and humiliate the man in public. At the entrance to the embassy reception where the Queen’s garden party takes place Ayo Faseyi inspects his wife Monica thoroughly before letting her in. He insists on her to put on her gloves as they are invited, to be presented. She has not brought her gloves as the custom. Bandele, Kola and Sagoe are invited, too. Sagoe tells the ambassador that dictators,

introduces the Faseyis as members of the University Teaching Hospital: Faseyi is the best xray analyst in the whole continent. Monica has heard of Kola’s enormous canvas with all the

gods in the country, and the wreckage of his studio by an angry woman. The Faseyis invite their friends the following day. Ayo’s mother does the cooking and she asks Monica to give her a hand. When Kola remains alone Usaye, the daughter of the Faseyis’ cook, comes near. She is an albino and a short-sighted girl. Monica does not hate black people, but she does not like dark, coloured, pigmented euphemisms. Usaye is described as a new-laid egg or newborn baby whose brain still pulsates in its head that needs much care. Kola does not mind mixed marriages as the other friends of Mr and Mrs Faseyi. All the women wish that their husbands will not approach Simi lest she ruins their life. Once, Egbo is teased by his friends as a person without experience with women. He decides to save up for studies, to eat just below

the wealth outside the country, Nigeria has become a lifeless ‘stinky’ animal, accommodating self-despising people like terrified horses. For Soyinka, the country has become the same as a

mutilation of Nigeria and strife over it constitutes the corrupted politicians from the different regions such as Nwabuzor the editor- in-chief, Sir Derin and Chief Winsala who asked for a fifty-pound bribe. The other gnashing dog represents Joe Golder, Monica Faseyi, Peter and the different machines controlling the country. A dead goat, enormously distended, was wedged against a corner of the planks and two

in reincarnation of the dead family members; therefore, in the Yoruba language there are many words meaning the return of the dead. The words: Babatunde, Yetunde, Babatunji and Sotunde each refer to father returns, mother returns, father wakes once again, and the wise man returns, respectively (Horton, 1989). This shows the strong ties among the Yoruba kinsmen. The members of the group believe that ancestors after death become semi- gods and will return. Ancestors from previous generations, who have died, become spirits and can "influence living members of the family for good or evil, but their influence does not extend beyond their specific families. In short, they act as intermediaries

not only provide them with shelter, but it constituted their spiritual life in the face of the spreading urban areas. The most part of The Interpreters related to Egbo takes place in nature. Soyinka refers to the dense forests, creeks, the Oshun grove, the overhung greyness and darkness that Egbo yearns for because he finds them comforting. However, once Egbo

starts to go further towards the suspension bridge, it is so different. It is not cosy and elusive there. When he deserted the train at Olokemeji the smell of coal turned him drowsy.

newborn natives with new spiritual security and social purpose. They lost every single trait to indicate who they were, the same as Soyinka’s albinos in The Interpreters: ‘Like a new-laidegg,’ he said, ‘when the shell is not full hard….or the pulsing soft centre of a baby’s head… (Soyinka, 1970, p. 49)’

the African reader is huge, he strives to show the injustice caused by the colonialist stereotypical descriptions of native populations and cultures. He is quite convinced that many of the nationalists have been ensnared in the European expansionist system. Sagoe, having been abroad in exile for sometime, has become aware of the white man’s intent in Africa and of this policy. He judges the Europeans in Africa and their effects on life of the

the gap between the antithetical and oppositional attitudes that threaten to throw the country into the cog mire of Civil War. He is neutral. Dehinwa, the only ever present Nigerian female with the band is a sample of a class of Western educated women who could violate the very basic tenets of family life, namely that of her living with males breaking her people’s taboos. Moreover, Sekoni is a short-sighted youth whose behaviour combines between frustration and hope. He felt being deceived by his corrupted supervisor, but he was able to overcome his sorrow proving that it was by no

opportunities for literacy skills, but there were still restrictions against their education because of the patriarchal control on their lives. Unfortunately, many of the influential men against women’s independence from man’s claws referred to classic texts that assigned men to assume positions for leadership (Cheshire, 2007, p. 13). Post-colonial literature has devoted much space for the subject of female domination by man. Accordingly, the subject male domination and female subordination

The claim that the Central Government has managed to bring all the ethnic diversities to live together in harmony is a political manipulation in the post-independence era. The Hausa and Fulani have never been a single tribe; a high number of Southern Yoruba people are Muslim, while many northern

Secondly, when colonists had succeeded in emptying natives of their spiritual constituents and in depriving them of their property, they moved to another step in their process of establishment which was to get the African subject ‘brainwashed’. Many of the indigenous people were receptive and absorbed the European cultural values; Christianity made of them newborn natives with new spiritual security and social purpose. This phase of shaping the African or preparing him for the would-be post- independent phase was very important for Europeans. The Westernised native – under the process of keeping Nigeria a colony by looting more and more its wealth under the cover of leading its people to stand on their own feet – learnt what the price of loyalty to the white man would be. Some of the political elite

members mastered the techniques of corruption and lying to their people. Others, who were taught to act on God’s behalf, pursued the colonial project of eradicating the traditional spiritual life of their people.



speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. The choice of English as the official language was partially related to the fact that a part of the Nigerian population spoke English as a result of British colonization that ended in 1960. The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of African languages: the majority are Niger–Congo languages, such as Yoruba and Igbo; the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is part of the Nilo-Saharan family. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in

feelings and relation to one another. Pidgin is more than just hybridisation or blending of local languages and English, rather it is to ‘decolonize the language’ of the West African writer (Dellal, 2001, p.4). The characters Nanga, Peter, the cook and Boniface in A Man of the People as well as Mathias, the waiter and the taxi driver in The Interpreters, all are made

of intentions, attitudes, relations between the society members and utterances about conventions (Omole, 1998, pp. 58-9). Linguistic realism goes beyond the novel plot to specify the type of the characters in the story from politicians to mere servants. Without code switching, Achebe and Soyinka might have failed in rendering texts with effective language. The poetic effect of the Ibo and Yoruba, for instance, cannot be adequately obtained in English alone. Code switching in A Man of the People and The Interpreters is a microscopic representation of the multilingual Nigerian society with about 500 languages and dialects (Lynn, 2017, p. 60).

writers’ districts, and social customs. The story of Joshua and Azoge, is an Igbo folk tale of a blind beggar that had been deceived by a rogue so as to steal his stick, thinking that a blind is

Achebe introduces the character Timothy, a youth, but cautious, who swears to never buy anything from Joshua’s shop. According to the writer, this is the way to deal with the thieves of the past, the colonists, i.e. to cut any relations with them instead of keeping on making deals with them. The fact that Azoge repeated telling his story to people means that history

repeats itself: what happened in Africa before is still taking place now. Therefore, Africans should learn a lesson from history

These organisations and a number of other opposition groups all over the world governments, such as the ones in Nigeria are believed to be supported by the Americans and the British. The US Administration was accused of being against stability because of the latter’s propaganda in favour of Biafra during the civil war in Nigeria. Nowadays, these oganisations are more and more powerful and transcontinental. They become labelled as terrorists, because they start to put the Westerners’ interests at risk; although the world had been hesitant to recognize these groups as such. Because the Nigerian government knew the meaning of the physical and psychological negative effects of terrorism on its citizens, the Nigerian

(Terdman, Factors Facilitating the Rise of Radical Islamism and Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007). Since 2009, Boko Haram has formed close links with al-Qaeda’s North African network, to the extent that it now tops the list of emerging terrorist threats being tracked by the major Western intelligence agencies. In January, the group struck eight targets in the northern city of Kano, killing at least 185 people in the space of a few hours. The tactics used in this assault bore all the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda: suicide bombers

No what the people had nothing to do with the fall of our Government. What happened was simply that unruly mobs and private armies have tasted blood and power during the election had got out of hand and ruined their masters

Africa. There is the Westerners’ imperial hegemony and their Eurocentric belief that everything the white man adopts is fair, and anything that he does not approve of should be abandoned. In A Man of the People and The Interpreters, the authors exploited the opportunity to talk about marital life in Africa describing the native marriage customs, negotiations, preparations for weddings and above all the question of women’s position in African societies as opposed to the practice of bisexual relationship heterogeneous and homogeneous partners, beside to women’s emancipation in Europe (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1976). For example, in order to get married with his

sense. There is a sequence of dramatic scenes and descriptions of events that do not follow a chronological line. These scenes are interrupted by periodic flashbacks and recollections during a rainy season in Nigeria from May through July. They sometimes occur as projection to the future. The characters move between Lagos and the city of Ibadan to the back country and lagoons outside populated areas. The tone of the novel oscillates between the satirical, the burlesque to the tragic. What rises relative complexity and discontinuity of the structure is the concision in wording the image to the point that The Interpreters has been described of being a difficult novel to understand. Because the novel emphasises thematic

As post-colonial authors, Achebe and Soyinka have exploited Western theories and views of others, such as post-colonialism, creating a type of discourse that expresses the

reality of their people, and refuting the European image. The colonial discourse, with its explicit conceptual under-pinning of the white man’s racial superiority of his history, culture, language, customs and beliefs to the local indigenous constituents led the African subjects to feel inferior in their self- identity. This urged the writers in West Africa to act against the white man’s conduct towards others than him. By using the same tools of the English language as well as the linguistic techniques as those selected by the Western authors, Achebe and Soyinka had two fundamental aims. Firstly in their message, they address

autobiographies and fiction among other literary genres, African writers intervened creatively, to some extent, in the political world. These novels help us to understand that the African present cannot be adequately interpreted without taking a deep look at its past which actually was responsible for shaping life in the African countries after independence. Most of the regimes in the ex-colonies are inheritance of the colonial system

violence they have been exposed to so as to ensuring them a removal of structural barriers to allow them a prominent role to play for the well-being of their society. The process of women’s empowerment is to gain them greater control over their lives by giving them access to education, employment and getting integrated in associations to express themselves instead of referring to indirect proxies. These factors are believed to

has been an essential liberating act for the people belonging to the former colonies. It is much believed that research in the beliefs of the Europeans’ others and the quest for cooperation between the North-South or at least South-South countries will be of everyone’s interest.

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