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Role of African Elites in Dismantling Decolonization

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Role of African Elites in Dismantling Decolonization

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  • October 2005
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Colonial literature
F-K Omoregie, English Department, University of Botswana
Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Amilcar Cabral's National Liberation and Struggle, and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's "Writing Against Neocolonialism" reveal the political, economic, and social circumstances that formed the sensibility of most African writers. Thus, they illuminate the various types of mentalities or ideologies that inform African literature. In addition, these works help the reader determine if a novelist's portrayal of African society fully reflects its social relations, political arrangements, and economic factors. These critical writings also help in the debate on the definition of African literature. For they bring out the historical connections that make it possible to analyze African literature dealing with pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial phases of African history. Rodney, Cabral and Ngugi claim that African literature exists in a historical continuum. For example, neocolonialism prevails today in Africa because of the continuation after "independence" of the economic, political and social practices established by colonialism. An analysis of the economic, political and social contradictions created by colonialism is, therefore, necessary in understanding and effectively countering neocolonialism. For the contradictions created by colonialism are still realities in contemporary Africa's development. Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa analyzes the colonial relations of production -- and the economic and political contradictions -- that produced Africa's underdevelopment and continue to plague Africa today. Rodney, who describes colonialism as a "one-armed bandit," claims that colonialism, more than anything else, underdeveloped Africa. According to him, colonialism laid the roots of neocolonialism in Africa by creating Africa's economic dependency on the international capitalist system. The introduction of capitalist relations of...