Miseries of the African Communities in a post-independent socio-political state
The African communities, over different time and space, were not able to cope up with the Europeanised socio-political norms and laws, after gaining their independence from their ‘white’ rulers. The European colonisers had successfully converted the African ‘barbaric tribes’ into so-called ‘civilised communities’ by enforcing their ‘superior’ culture, religion, language and aesthetics with the help of the gunpowder; yet they could not erase from the minds of the several million slaves the idea of their own roots which they had left behind in the ‘black continent’ ever since the beginning of the policy of colonisation and the establishment of socio-political and economic hierarchy and supremacy by the Europeans. The African communities after gaining freedom from their ‘white’ rulers were however unable to manage the state of beings, leading to widespread misery, desperation, melancholy and desolation in their own community. They, as a matter of fact, had inherited not only a so-called ‘civilised’ religion, language, dress code or food habits from their European masters but also imitated the Europeans in their exercise of ‘political power’, ‘corruption’ and ‘oppression’, after gaining liberation from the ‘whites’.
Let us take into consideration four novels, all written in the twentieth century in European languages, which clearly throws some light on the miseries faced by the common people of the African communities and the desperation that they stand in front of. The Kingdom of This World (El reino de este mundo), a novel by the Cuban author Alejo Carpentier, published in 1949 in Spanish, is a work of historical fiction which conveys the story of Haiti before, during, and after the Haitian Revolution against the French colonisers, as witnessed by its protagonist, Ti Noel. Ahmadou Kourouma’s first novel The Suns of Independence (Les soleils des indépendances), published in 1970 in French, posted a criticism to the post-colonial governments in Africa and provided a determination to protest against the betrayal of legitimate African aspirations at the dawn of independence in Côte d’Ivoire. Toni Morrison’s Jazz and Richard Wright’s Native Son, both published in English and both of which are set in two of the major African-American infested areas of the United States of America, the neighbourhood of Harlem in New York City and Chicago’s south-side ghetto respectively, in the twenties and the thirties of the earlier century, are both projections of the miseries and the humiliations faced by the African-American community in the United States of America, even after the banishment of slavery.
Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World takes place prior to, during, and after the Haitian Revolution which led to the pronouncement of Haitian independence in 1804. This revolution was a turning point in global history as unlike the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution witnessed the rise of a ‘black’ ruler of African origin replacing the French colonisers which was unthinkable and therefore challenged the prejudices of its time. Embedded with magic realism, the novel through the perspective of its central character, Ti Noel, describes the oppressions conducted by the French colonisers and the plantation owners over the African slaves; the mythical beliefs and the importance of voodoo in the African culture through the character Mackandal; the vulgarity and the crudity of the rebellion of the slaves against the colonisers; and the oppression of the African community as faced during the rule of Henri Christophe, the first black ruler of Haiti. Ti Noel after buying his passage from a plantation owner based in Santiago, comes back to discover a free Haiti. Now much older, he realizes that he has returned to the former plantation of Lenormand de Mezy for whom he used to slave. Though Haiti has been freed from the...
Cited: Carpentier, Alejo. “The Kingdom of This World” (trans. Harriet de Onis). Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. (Print)
Kourouma, Ahmadou. “The Suns of Independence” (trans. Adrian Adams). Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1997. (Print)
Morrison, Toni. “Jazz”. New York. Vintage Publications, 2004. (Print)
Wright, Richard. "Native Son". New York. Harper Perennial, 1940. (Print)
Márquez, Gabriel García. "The Solitude of Latin America." Ed. Allén, Sture. “Nobel Lectures, Literature 1981-1990”. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 1993. (Print)
Please join StudyMode to read the full document