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n Journal of the African Literature Association - African Freedom: How Africa Responded to Independence - book review

Volume 13 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2167-4744
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Abstract

Phyllis Taoua’s wide-ranging meditation on literary and cultural responses to independence across Africa draws salutary distinctions between the political achievement of liberation and the effective instantiation of actual freedom for African citizens. In addition, her book also draws attention to the struggles over freedom from oppression and freedom to live one’s life according to one’s own lights. As such, this book makes a telling general intervention into the philosophical discussion of what we talk about when we talk about freedom. Indeed, her discussion of the seemingly constant deferral of freedom in contemporary Africa has ramifications well beyond the continent—notably in regard to African Americans, especially in the US South, as well as to the African diaspora generally in these days when apartheid has, in Patrick Bond’s phrase, “gone global.” The failure of independence movements to bring substantive freedom despite the achievement of “liberation” resonates all too clearly now here in the US where the backlash against the nation’s first black president has been referred to as a moment of redemption akin to the violent overthrowing of radical Reconstruction after the Civil War. Emancipation, we should surely have learned, is a process, not an event—and a process constantly under threat, to boot.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-1b10823da8
2019-12-01
2020-09-18

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