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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Several motifs are apparent in the commentaries that Eleni Coundouriotis and Simon Lewis have offered about my book, African Freedom. The first of these involves a historical reflection on national liberation and the years since. They respond to this invitation to reflect on the past in different ways. Coundouriotis starts by noting my central thesis, national liberation, did not deliver meaningful freedom to a majority of people in Africa. She observes, and rightly so, that my work pushes forward with an assessment of literary and cinematographic engagements with what I call an ongoing struggle. She characterizes this aspect of my project as hopeful, and this came up during a forum on the book at the 2019 ALA conference. When I said that I was surprised by that characterization, she rephrased it as the absence of cynicism or moving beyond simply pessimistic critiques. While I agree that the thrust of my book is forward-looking and interested in understanding creative engagements with freedom, my criticism of postcolonial theory as an obstacle to doing this kind of work has, thus far, not entered the discussion. This is interesting to me.

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