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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - From self-identity to universality : a reading of Henri Lopes' works : research article

Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract


Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, yet a citizen of Congo-Brazzaville, Henri Lopes is one of those African writers who were not only educated in Europe (France) but also lived there while writing a certain portion of their literary work. Being an influential political figure in his country, the author expresses his vision of an independent Africa through his literary works such as ''Tribaliques'' (1971), ''La nouvelle romance'' (1976), ''Sans tam-tam'' (1977) and ''Le pleurer-rire'' (1982). However, from 1990, Lopes distances his writings from general political issues. In ''Le chercheur d'Afriques'' (1990) and ''Le lys et le flamboyant'' (1997), he veers into a new ideological direction, predominantly embedded in issues pertaining to existence: the quest for identity and issues related to hybridisation are recurrent themes and objects of scrutiny. It is clear that this biological approach serves as a pretext for the author to perform an in-depth interrogation of the complex issues of the universal in the context of a modern and globalising world. In his works, human blood and race represent an important aspect of culture; the blending of different cultures is an essential element for the construction of society. A community founded on cultural diversity is thus depicted as dynamic, strong and sustainable. One wonders whether the author is not describing his own life experiences through fiction. This might indeed be the case, considering that Lopes himself is a person of mixed origins, herein referred to as a ''métis''. However, the experience described by the author, who lives in France, transcends race; it addresses the modern debate on the issue of cultural hybridisation.


Henri Lopes, gebore in Kinshasa in die Demokratiese Republiek van die Kongo (DRK), maar 'n Kongolese burger (Brazzaville), is een van die Afrikaskrywers wat nie alleen in Europa (Frankryk) sy opvoeding ontvang het nie, maar ook daar gewoon en 'n aansienlike deel van sy literêre werk daar voltooi het. As 'n invloedryke politieke figuur in sy land het die outeur sy visie van 'n onafhanklike Afrika verwoord in werke soos ''Tribaliques'' (1971), ''La nouvelle romance'' (1976), ''Sans tam-tam'' (1977) en ''Le pleurer-rire'' (1982). Vanaf 1990 het Lopes hom egter in sy skryfwerk van algemene politieke kwessies gedistansieer. In ''Le chercheur d'Afriques'' (1990) en ''Le lys et le flamboyant'' (1997), beweeg hy in 'n nuwe ideologiese rigting, naamlik hoofsaaklik gefokus op eksistensiële kwessies: die soeke na identiteit en kwessies oor hibridisering raak terugkerende temas en areas van ondersoek. Dit is duidelik dat hierdie biologiese benadering as 'n voorwendsel dien vir die skrywer om 'n diepgaande ondersoek na die komplekse aard van die universele in 'n modern en globaliserende wêreld te loods. In sy werk verteenwoordig bloed en ras 'n belangrike aspek van kultuur; die vermenging van verskillende kulture is 'n noodsaaklike element vir die konstruksie van die samelewing. 'n Gemeenskap gebaseer op kulturele diversiteit word dus uitgebeeld as dinamies, sterk en volhoubaar. 'n Mens wonder of die outeur nie sy outobiografiese ervarings deur fiksie verwoord nie. Dit mag inderdaad die geval wees, aangesien Lopes self 'n ''métis'' (van gemengde bloed) is. Sy werk transendeer rassegrense en neem deel aan die moderne debat oor kulturele hibridisering.

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/content/literat/28/3/EJC61982
2007-12-01
2016-12-11

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