Thematic Cluster: Black African Literatures and Cultures


In his article "Achebe's Work, Postcoloniality, and Human Rights" Eric Sipyinyu Njeng argues that Chinua Achebe exposes failings in the fabric of African society and engages with violations of human rights. Achebe is careful not to hurt the pride of Africans who in the Zeitgeist of the nationalist ferment of the 1950s were wary of European powers. Achebe does not "write back" to the empire: he writes the empire in and he lays bare the weaknesses in African culture grounded in the father-son-grandson trajectory he narrates. Achebe presents what may be termed a cultural dialectics: the thesis (flawed African customs represented in violations of human rights) collides with its antithesis (colonialism and Christianity) leading to a synthesis (a recognition of colonial agency and appropriation of values).