African Literature - 1

Topics: Africa, South Africa, Black people Pages: 6 (2087 words) Published: September 20, 2012
Safie Abena Yeboah
Sarah Dorgbazi
African Literature
4th may, 2012
The work of arts of writers are shaped by what they observe see around them. Themes of African writers are affected by issues on western education, culture, identity and many more. Here are four types of themes in a work of arts namely; the theme of moral lessons, theme of criticism, theme of observation and theme of statement , that is determined by readers of the work of art like the poem. This paper will discuss the thematic concerns of African writers in five different works. This paper will discuss the thematic concerns of African writers in The Cathedral by Kofi Awoonor,the, the songs of Lawino and Ocol by Okot P’Betiks, Sizwe Bansi is dead by Athol Fugard and the beautiful ones are not yet born by Nii Ayikwee Armah.

Okot P’Betiks song’s of Lawino and Ocol was about cultural differences, but he took a critical look at two conflicting cultures, the African and westernization which was as a result of colonization. Therefore, the theme of the poems was observation. While Lawino stood for the preservation of her local traditional culture, Ocol was for westernization. The local traditional culture brought about togetherness and peace in the town. According to Lawino, “ …When the two [ Ocol and his brother] were boys, […], they were as close to each other as the eye and the nose, they were like twins, and they shared everything even a single white ant.” This was before colonization. During the pre colonization period, Ocol and his brother did everything together and they stood together for each other. This clearly shows how strong their cultural and its teaching were to the people. After Ocol had the western education, he had changed so much, Lawino says, ‘… Listen, my husband… you may not know this, you may not feel so, but you behave like a dog of the white man! A good dog [that] pleases its master…’. She is sure her husband has lost his dignity with the quest of ‘behaving’ like the ‘white man’. He is now kowtowing to the white man and rejecting his own people even is flesh and blood brother, all in the name of education. Ocol now hates his brother because they are all in different political parties. A concern to Lawino saying, “I do not understand, the new political parties. They dress differently, they dress in robes Like the Christian diviner- priests, but Ocol treats his brother, as if they are not relatives.” Ocol treats his culture with neglect and lack of respect. Ocol not only condemns the blackness of Africa but decries his own blackness too, “he looks at his hands. At the black fingernails….,he weeps asking himself, but why! Why!. One could imagine the anguish in his voice. He wishes more than anything that he was not born black. He abhors the primitiveness of the world into which he was born. This clearly shows that the western education has cause conflicts between families, culture and society. And hence, had lead to their under-development, since, people with the western education and the people who still maintain and accept the local traditional culture never compromised on anything. This was because; those who have adopted the new culture looked down on their own original local tradition. In the song of Lawino, Ocol’s failure to hold his family and conflicts with his local culture together is the violation of the sanctity with the people in the town held in the family and communal systems. The concept of the family is central to all social organizations. The family unity is shaken as Ocol disregards all in pursuit of westernization. Lawino is saddened,”…when visitors […] arrive[d] and my husband's face darkens…”. He wants his family to be nuclear with no extended family influence or involvement. He is in great enmity with his brother and does not welcome visiting members of the extended family. There’s no unity in his family, thus,...
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