n Latin American Report - Voyages, icons and ideas : Latin American literature and the African connections

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



One of the key goals of teaching world literature is to open dialogue between different geographical spaces and cultures, while seeking to connect them, to gain new perspectives by outsiders looking in and vice-versa, while also constantly interrogating the role of art itself to human experience across historical epochs. In this paper, I propose a fresh perspective on Latin American literature with emphasis on its significance to the African student of world literature. I begin by delineating the unique relationship between Latin America and Africa before delving into the specific relevance of Latin American literature to the African student. The historical role of South America as the destination of millions of African slaves forms the backdrop to this analysis. Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Suriname, Ecuador and other Latin American countries boast significant populations of African descent whose cultures - including artistic ones - are still influenced and shaped by contemporary African as well as slave experiences. Similarly, African letters are also haunted, shaped and influenced by Latin American literary narratives.

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