Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He was the first African writer to be honoured with the prestigious prize. Alexander Macbeth on how Soyinka’s Nobel has influenced the development of African literature 30 years on.
From Negritude to Afrofuturism (via Tigritude and Afrocentricity), the empire continues to write back. Africa is constantly reshaping her own previously distorted and desecrated image, and written words, like a distant echo boomeranging ever nearer, continue to heal the scars inflicted by hundreds of years of colonialism. This pulsating pan-African echo, contemporary African literature, is built on the foundations of thousands of years of oral traditions; cultural systems, laws and moral values, shared and passed on from mango tree to village fire, from road to the river, market to square, mouth to ear. From the jeli reciting the exploits of kings in West Africa to the rhythms of Somali poetry, Africa can rightly claim to be the cradle of fables, the home of information and the heartbeat of the narrative.
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