Thematic Cluster: Black African Literatures and Cultures


In her article "Racism and Identity in Onwueme's Riot in Heaven" Onyeka Iwuchukwu explores Tess Osonye Onwueme's acclaimed play in the context of the Black diaspora in the U.S. Iwuchukwu posits that because of Onwueme's exploration of the theater of the absurd in the play, audience's attention is directed to the illogical presentation of dialogue and action. However, the technique with textual properties suggesting unmotivated and meaningless references in fact carries profound meaning. Further, the said "absurd" presentation and narration results in a strong ideological and political message akin to the practice of littérature engagée. Iwuchukwu's analysis of Riot in Heaven is an attempt to illuminate Onwueme's projection against the condition of racial discrimination resulting in Blacks' self-effacing complexes of inferiority. Iwuchukwu reads Onwueme's play as a call for change in the attitudes and practices of US-American Blacks and agrees with the playwright's intention to encourage Blacks to re-discover their culture and origins in order to displace the said reign of inferiority.