English in Africa - Volume 41, Issue 2, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 41, Issue 2, 2014
Author David MedalieSource: English in Africa 41, pp 9 –11 (2014)More Less
Nadine Gordimer gave expression for so many decades to the textures of South African experience and the currents of our history that it is difficult for me to imagine our literary and cultural life without her.
Throughout her lengthy and extraordinarily prolific career, she challenged her readers; and now, following her death, her legacy challenges those of us who would wish to offer an appropriate tribute, for it is impossible to do justice to the vast body of work, both creative and critical, she has left, or to her status as one who, even as she observed our convoluted society with a precise and prescient eye, did much to shape our understanding of it.
Author Hermann WittenbergSource: English in Africa 41, pp 13 –33 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i2.1More Less
In an important early study of the relationship between literature and film, Keith Cohen argues persuasively that the emergence of European modernist fiction in the early twentieth century does not stem solely from a disenchantment with the tired realism of the nineteenth-century bourgeois novel. It also drew on the stylistic inventiveness of an entirely new art form: cinema. A "rapidly developing cinematic language" in the early silent film era (Eisenstein, Buñuel, Griffith) fed a similar inventiveness in the novel, catalysing a "dynamic handling of space and time, the radical shifting of point of view, and the reconstituted patterning (montage) of fragmented narration" (Cohen108). Cohen's argument involves a close reading of key works by Proust, Joyce, Woolf and Stein, showing how these texts drew from the innovative representational techniques of the new medium of film. Literature and film fed off each other to create the aesthetic revolution that constituted the cultural modernity of the early twentieth century.
Author Thando NjovaneSource: English in Africa 41, pp 35 –58 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i2.2More Less
Chesca Long-Innes argues that Mia Couto's installation of the fantastic in his short story collection, Voices Made Night, may best be understood "not so much as a product of any 'magical realist' poetics, but as 'naturalised,' or motivated as a function of the collective neurosis of a [Mozambican] society traumatised by its continuing history of poverty and extreme violence". Couto's use of the fantastic, she adds, encompasses both empirical and psychic reality, and both are characterised by instability and elusiveness. The collection, she then maintains, constitutes a reinvention or reimagining of subjective realities constructed and perpetuated by the social trauma underpinning what she terms the "psycho-pathology of post-colonial Mozambique, in which the society as a whole is [. . .] caught in the grip of a profound depression or melancholia".
The poetics and politics of transnational petro-environmentalism in Nnimmo Bassey's We Thought It Was Oil but It Was BloodAuthor Philip AghoghovwiaSource: English in Africa 41, pp 59 –77 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i2.3More Less
Nnimmo Bassey is one of the best known environmental rights advocates in Africa. He was born in 1958 in the Niger Delta, and trained as an architect. After a successful ten-year architectural practice in the public sector, he decided to devote his energies to activism on issues of human and environmental rights. He is the executive director of the Nigeria-based Environmental Rights Action group, and the chair of Friends of the Earth International, a global grassroots collective for environmental rights action in the Global South. In the last decade, Bassey has become the quintessential spokesman for minority and environmental rights around the world. This is attested to by the accolades he has received, which include the Time Magazine 2009 Hero of the Environment, the 2010 Rights Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel), the 2011 Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award for his Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria organisation achievements, and the 2012 Rafto Prize for Human Rights. The Norway-based Rafto Foundation described Bassey as an "untiring defender of victims of climate change."
Author Edgar NabutanyiSource: English in Africa 41, pp 79 –93 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i1.6More Less
In his important book, Crime Fiction: The New Critical Idiom, John Scaggs traces the origin of crime fiction to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Reading Cain's murder of Abel alongside Oedipus the King, Hamlet and the Book of Daniel, Scaggs defines crime fiction as a narrative whose subject matter is a crime and its investigation (Scaggs). In spite of their different socio-historical contexts, these three texts adhere to Scaggs's template of crime fiction - their plots hinge on the commission of a crime and its investigation. To this list, one can add Amma Darko's Faceless because it also exhibits the core elements of crime fiction that Scaggs sketches. While the subject matter of the text is the commission of crime(s) - the prostitution and murder of Baby T and the assault and attempted rape of Fofo - its plot is framed as a quest to identify and punish the people who are variously responsible for these crimes: Maa Tsuru, Onko, Kpakpo, Poison, Maami Broni and Mama Abidjan.
Women as absented presences : gender and nationalist discourse in Bole Butake's Shoes and Four Men in ArmsAuthor Naomi NkealahSource: English in Africa 41, pp 95 –114 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i2.5More Less
In his article "Absented Presences in Recent Anglophone-Cameroon Poetry," George Nyamndi asserts that the commanding force in recent poetry by Anglophone Cameroonians is not the immediate, observable structure of society, or what he calls the historical present, but the absented or concealed circumstances of the coming into being of that historical present. Nyamndi sees in the poetry of Bate Besong and Mathew Takwi, the two poets he discusses in his article, a spirit of nationalism that derives its strength from the nationalist endeavours of the Francophone Cameroonian freedom fighter Um Nyobe, although the poems themselves make no explicit reference to Um Nyobe. In his view, then, Um Nyobe is an absented presence - a historical figure that is physically absent but spiritually present in the sense that his ideals inform, guide and motivate the poetry of Anglophone Cameroonians in this age of general dissension against Cameroon's ruling government.
Author Neil RuschSource: English in Africa 41, pp 115 –144 (2014)More Less
Athol Fugard has achieved pre-eminence as a theatre director, playwright and actor, but the immediate occasion for this interview was a shared friendship with the late Don Maclennan (1929-2009). Through our memory of Don we found several intersecting interests, one being fishing and the other mortality, death and departure from the physical body. The atmosphere was light in spite of "an old man's preoccupation with death," and there was laughter and silence that are not represented on the printed page. Fugard was extremely attentive when I asked my questions, read something or made an observation. The silences came and went without any awkwardness. Words and ideas were measured and weighed before we moved on, or before he responded.