Role of African Elites in Dismantling Decolonization

5146 Words Nov 4th, 2005 21 Pages
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
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. . " (1980). In Ferdinand Oyono 's The Old Man and the Medal, the road, constructed by forced black labor, symbolizes the visible exploitative means linking Africa to Europe. Rodney notes also that the social services in colonial Africa reflected the pattern of domination and exploitation geared toward the well-being of the settlers. In Mayombe the narrator says:
You earn twenty escudos a day, for chopping down trees with an axe . . . And how much does the boss earn for each tree? A pile. What does the boss do to earn this money? Nothing, nothing . . . So, how can he earn many thousands a day and give you twenty escudos? What right has he? This is colonialist exploitation. [Pepetela: 1983: 19]
What the narrator notes above, claims Rodney, is what resulted in the underdevelopment of Africa.
Rodney observes that the African dependency upon the European also ultimately produced neocolonial class stratification and Africans who manipulated the colonial economic structures for their own benefit. In Mission to Kala, the colonial authorities nominate the chief of Vimili who goes on to live an opulent life at the expense of the people:
The colonial Administration (who had nominated him in the first place) buttered him up. In return, he obeyed their commands like a robot and knew they would not throw him out. In the days of the forced labor gangs he had been feared by everyone because he betrayed fugitives to the authorities and acted as an informer.
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