n French Studies in Southern Africa - Une lecture de conséquence : la portée du de Thomas Mofolo sur Léopold Sédar Senghor

Volume 2010, Issue 40
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



Thomas Mofolo's novel , published in 1925, was a key contributor to Chaka's mythical status in both Anglophone and Francophone African literature. The article aims to demonstrate the political and poetic significance of this particular work for Léopold Sédar Senghor in light of his own rewriting of the text. By writing the poem in 1951, Senghor creates one of Negritude's most powerful symbols, which he poses as an intellectual challenge to White imperialism on the African continent. Senghor also chooses Chaka, the nineteenth century founder of the Zulu nation and an exotic 'other', as a personal myth, symbol of his own personal struggle, born from the pull between his nascent political career and his artistic vocation. It will be shown that Senghor's choice fulfills a political and poetic need and that his poetic interpretation of Mofolo's novel proposes a different way of relating to the world, which is that of Negritude, expressed in the lyricism of his poetry.

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