Walter Rodney Ctiticism

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Rodney is a neo- Marxist and non- imperialist writer, meaning he views oppression of Africans rooted in the hands of the colonial capitalist activities in Africa and the suffering of Africans premised in the imperialistic activities of Europeans in Africa. His critical work helps in the debate on the definition of African literature, for he brings out the historical connection that makes it possible to analyse African literature dealing with the pre- colonial and post- colonial phases of African history. He reveals political, economic and social circumstances that informed the sensibility of most African writers.

Rodney is a writer who is guided by the ideology from the dependency/ underdevelopment theory. The dependency theory believes
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Rodney observes that already Africa had developed to a stage whereby mining was conducted. Her tools had developed from stone to iron tools without European intervention. Africa‘s technology was coming up because already there were works of the blacksmith that were discovered dating before the Africans came into contact with Europeans. He argues that Europeans hindered African development with their exploitative activities. Colonialism induced the African worker to abandon the process of extracting iron for his development for Europeans.

Africa’s socio- economic structure system was laid backwards by coming of Europeans. Men and women’s gender roles, hunting and gathering were destroyed. Traditionally men did heavy labour of felling trees, clearing trees and building houses. When they were required to leave their farms to seek employment, women remained behind burdened with every task necessary for survival of themselves, even children and even men as food stuffs were concerned. This idea inspired the colonial and feminist writers like Barbra Makhalisa in her novel uMendo.

Rodney finds in colonialism double oppression of women in the African society. Women were oppressed by the African traditional customs and laws. Colonialism has intensified the oppression of women, as men entered the money sector easily and greater numbers than women. Women’s work became greatly inferior to that of men within the new value system

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