oa Marang : Journal of Language and Literature - Dissident writing: home and exile in Frank Chipasula s Whispers in the Wings

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1816-7659



Writers in Africa who have taken a critical view of their society have variously been designated as dissidents, traitors, or rebels by the political regimes. In most cases such writers have been forced into exile or placed in detention for their writing and their works banned in their countries. However, such writers have often only expressed the growing disillusionment characteristic of the post-independence African countries even in the recent democratic dispensation. Writers forced into exile have continued to write critical works about their countries besides taking stock of their new surroundings of exile. While postmodernism posits cosmopolitanism or nomadic existence as normal, where exile is home, this article argues that for Frank Chipasula exile could not become home because the local politics of former president for life and dictator in Malawi, Dr. H.K. Banda, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) haunted his exile. This forced Chipasula in his poetry to engage with Bandas regime even from exile, resisting the tyranny with the terms of a guerrilla fighter hence his work could be called dissident writing. In his nomadic existence as an exile, Chipasula worries less about where he is than about his home country, Malawi. This article uses poems from his collection, Whispers in the Wings to examine the relationship between Chipasula as a poet in exile and his society in Malawi.

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