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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nationalism in African literature
Author:Virmani, K.K.ISNI
Periodical:Indian Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Africa
Abstract:Nationalism is primarily a cultural phenomenon, although it often takes a political form when it is directed against alien rule. In the African context this is exemplified in the writings of the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Kwame Nkrumah, amongst others. The nationalist movements in most of the dependent territories in Africa combined the demand for political freedom with aspirations for cultural revival. European works of literature, with their negative portrayal of Africa and Africans, became the base from which the emerging African intelligentsia launched its attack against white domination. In francophone Africa the Négritude movement, with its slogan of 'back to the roots', sought to revive African culture and traditions in reaction to the French colonial policy of assimilation, although some writers, notably Frantz Fanon and Ezekiel Mphahlele, saw a return to the past as leading to a dead end. African anglophone writers used the slogan 'African personality', coined at the All African Peoples Conference in Accra in December 1958, although often they were not sure whether 'African personality' should be protected, asserted, established, or promoted. Most African writers showed an interest in searching for the roots of the past in order to gain for themselves a populist image among the masses. Ultimately, neither the aim of Négritude nor that of African personality could be achieved. The question of how to reconcile the traditional and the modern remains unresolved, and cultural emancipation continues to haunt the writer as a dream. Ref.